P34 release update
We have been fairly quiet recently about the release of the second pangolin, as with any fieldwork it’s been a difficult few weeks, but we have good news to deliver.
After one week of release, the transmitter attached to P34 fell off. This was a frustrating turn of events after such a short period of time but not surprising considering she was in some dense bamboo forest.
Having located two of her den sites before the transmitter fell, we set up camera traps there. Furthermore we set some up at eight other locations, all in front of tree hollows that could be potential den sites. Unlike with P33, we were working on a lot less information about her movement patterns.
However, yesterday we obtained a picture of a Sunda Pangolin. All the cameras had been baited with frozen ants, their captive diet, and the photograph clearly shows the pangolin investigating the smell. Although there is no way to confirm that it is P34, it is worth questioning if a wild pangolin would find the novel smell of the frozen ants interesting. The smell may have attracted her due to an association with food, built up during captivity.
We will continue to keep the cameras active to see if we can capture more photographs and are combining this with night spotting in the area and putting sand at the entrances of other tree hollows to record any tracks. These are difficult activities which rely on a large amount of luck; for example, with night spotting they have no eye shine, so we are reliant on listening for sounds of movement. However, tracking her survival is a priority, so it is worth trying all we can to achieve that.