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Orphaned, Critical Baby Pangolin Is A Fighter And Survivor

Apr 15, 2016 08:51 AM EDT
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An orphaned Sunda pangolin in Singapore has proven to be quite the fighter after it was found weakly wandering alone this February on a road in the city-state.

A critically endangered animal, the four-month-old Sunda pangolin was more than welcome when it was taken to the rescued wildlife center in Wildlife Reserves Singapore. Veterinarians did their best to give back his strength and raise him well, even bottle-feeding him.

All the rescue attempts are gargantuan tasks for the human vets, especially since pangolins are not used to human care.

At mornings and nights, the Sunda pangolin is taken for walks for his daily exercise. This will not only make him stronger but also reinforces his strong sense of smell and use of claws.

As for his food, the baby Sunda pangolin initially rejected the kitten milk replacer but now he has been drinking it twice a day. He is also slowly transitioning to solid food, with a diet consisting of ant eggs and termites.

He initially had some intestinal issues because of the change in his meals but nothing that the vets cannot handle.

The young survivor has now grown from 776 grams to 1.1 kilograms -- a positive result of everyone's efforts in the reserve. When fully grown, a male Sunda pangolin can weigh up to as much as 7.5 kilograms.

Sunda pangolins are considered to be critically endangered under the IUCN Red List, being the most illegally trafficked animal in the world. Poaching remains to be the biggest threat, with the continuous trade for their skin, scales and meat, particularly in the market for Chinese traditional medicine. Even though it is forbidden to hunt them down, their dwindling numbers in Southeast Asia is alarming, as per a previous report.

As of writing time, the baby pangolin still does not have a name. But they hope to give him one soon, according to a comment on their Facebook video featuring their new rescue.

Chief Life Science Officer of the reserve Dr. Cheng Wen-Haur said raising the baby Sunda pangolin is a real achievement since they usually show low survival rates under human care.

"This experience has given us invaluable knowledge on how to care for the species," he said.

Hopefully, this young fighter can give us more knowledge on the natural behavior of his fellow pangolins, which are very elusive and secretive in nature.

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