In the early hours of Friday morning a sleeping Sunda Pangolin embarked on a journey from Cuc Phuong National Park, northern Vietnam, to Cat Tien National Park, in the south of the country. This represented the next exciting stage in a long term project to rehabilitate and release trade confiscated Sunda Pangolins.
The timing of the journey was critical, to minimize the amount of stress on the animal. By travelling through the day, the nocturnal creature slept comfortably as she went by car, plane and a short boat ride before reaching her new, temporary enclosure at Cat Tien National Park.
The down pour of rain that met us on arrival provided welcoming conditions for the pangolin, who is used to the slightly cooler temperatures of the north. As expected when first introduced into the enclosure, she spent time sniffing and scent marking, getting used to the novel surroundings. A mixture of live and frozen ants were provided and she was left to begin acclimatizing to her new surroundings.
Throughout the project it is important to monitor the pangolin for any stressed behavior (e.g. pacing, not eating and climbing on the wire meshing of the cage). After leaving her for an hour or so, when she was next checked upon she had already tucked into the frozen ants that had been left for her, but was still active around the cage. However, when the researchers returned later on that night, they were relieved to see that she was asleep in the bedbox in the enclosure.
The next four weeks are crucial as we continue to prepare her for the release into the National Park. Follow the story of how she does: find out about what needs to be done to prepare her for release, how we collect ants to feed her and the ecology and behavior of the Sunda Pangolin. Then stick with us to find out how she responds when released into the wild.