In preparation for the next two pangolin releases veterinary staff from Animals Asia Foundation came down to the CPCP centre at Cuc Phuong National Park to attach the transmitter to the next female pangolin (P34) to be released.
As well as attaching the transmitter the pangolin had a final health check. This was a very basic check of general condition as a more comprehensive health check had previously been done last year. In these health checks all pangolins had blood and faecal samples taken to check for parasites. This was not only for the health of the released individuals but to ensure that their release would not have a negative impact on any wild populations.
The procedure this time included anesthetising the pangolin in order to drill two holes in a selected scale, through which the transmitter could be secured. Although the transmitter looks fairly bulky on the pangolin, previous tests have indicated that they do not seem to impact on the naturalistic behaviour of the animal. Holes were also drilled into the final pangolin due for release later this year, but the transmitter was not yet attached. This will be done nearer the release date to prevent it falling off or being damages before release, but this is possible without anesthetising or sedating the individual.
P34 now has over a week left in Cuc Phuong where she will be closely monitored for any signs of stress. If everything goes smoothly then she will travel down to Cat Tien National Park early next week to spend a month acclimatising to the area, before being released in the middle of August.