If you have ever had the privilege of seeing a pangolin in real life, you will know the magnitude of this sighting. It will most definitely be the rarest sighting you will mostly like have whilst out in the African bush on Safari.
As you can see by the stats on your left, this is the most trafficked animal in the world – now, let that sink in!
So, what is the reason for the trafficking of these incredible creatures?
“Large-scale trafficking is driven by a belief that pangolin scales have magical and curative properties and demand for their meat. When mixed with bark from certain trees, the scales are thought to neutralize witchcraft and evil spirits. If buried near a man’s door they are said to give an interested woman power over him.” – African Wildlife Foundation
Did you know that there were four species of pangolin in Africa?
Well, now you do. These four species are as follows:
1. Giant Ground Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea)
2. Temminck’s Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii)
3. The Black-Bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)
4. The White-Bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis)
If you want to learn more about pangolin’s and other endangered species have a look at the EcoTraining Endangered Species Quiz.
Now, you might be wondering why were are talking about pangolin’s, yes they are fascinating creates and we could probably talk pangolin facts all day, but something very exciting happens this week at our EcoTraining Makuleke Camp that we just have to share with you!
We’re going to let instructor Sean Matthewson fill us in…
“As a cold front rages across South Africa, all creatures, both large and small seek refuge from driving winds. But in an isolated pocket of wilderness, deep in the forest, a pangolin negotiates the terrain and approaching storm.
Every time a gust of wind blows through the forest floor, this little hero rolls up into a defensive ball. He’s not sure whether or not these gusts of wind are friend or foe, and rather opts to be safe.
In these uncertain times, it’s safe thinking like that which will ensure his survival.
Pangolins are the most trafficked animal on Earth, with the majority of animals finding their way to Eastern markets for consumption, and likely, unfounded medicinal practice. It is for this reason that this little champion of the elements will be left free and wild in an undisclosed location (exactly where and as we found him).
Suffice to say, this little armoured tank is considered the Holy Grail of the African bush, with many an avid explorer never having a single opportunity to see him in the wild. It is also the only animal (to this author’s knowledge) that in an instant, can turn a grown man into a blubbering child, overcome with the sheer pleasure of the privilege of a glimpse.
As we sat watching the star of the show, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this could be the last time I set eyes on a pangolin in my lifetime. I am, however, utterly at peace with this notion, as I am among the lucky few and that my search for the Holy Grail, is in fact over.
It is, however, my hope that even now, in conservation’s darkest moments, that these astounding creatures will still find their place in the Anthropocene, and that my children’s children will too stand one day in the presence of greatness, as I did.
My gratitude extends to EcoTraining, without whom this opportunity could never have materialized!”
Want to watch this real-life sighting?
We know that as you self-isolate during this lock-down period of 21-days it will be hard, especially as most of you love the outdoors and the idea of adventures in the African Bush, we are on your page.
For those of you who are at home, we feel you and want to assure you that for the next coming weeks we are going to try keep you as entertained and immersed in a ‘bush experience’ as possible, just because you will be at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the magic of the wilderness!
We will continue with our weekly trivia questions, our quizzes and add some word search and crossword fun in there for you to keep your mind’s busy and the brain sharp.
In the meantime, for the sake of your sanity, we have come up with a list of things that will entertain you and your family while you wait out the lock-down:
Something for the nature enthusiasts:
and to keep you entertained…
- You can never go wrong with Sir. David Attenborough. When you can’t get into the bush, he brings the bush to you, learn, be moved and feel a part of an incredible journey. Watch the Planet Earth Series.
- We have a new series coming your way: Tarry & Tayla Birding 101 or as we are calling it Bird.I.Y. Keep your eyes peeled on the EcoTraining YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/EcoTraining this series will keep you entertained and even make you pee a little bit with all the laughter. Starting on the 6th of April @ 16h00 (GMT).
Reading and brushing up on your nature skills:
- We have loads of quizzes and we will have new ones every Thursday @ 13:30 (GMT). In the meantime if you missed any of the most recent ones, don’t fear, here they are:
- Some reading we think you might enjoy:
- Changing A Leopard’s Spots: The Adventures of Two Wildlife Trackers –
- When The Lion Feeds – Wilbur Smith
- The Wonderful Wild –
- A Game Ranger Remembers – Bruce Bryden
Something for the kids:
- Reading: Here are a few of our top picks for kids who love animals and wildlife.
- Audio: Here are our top audio/audiobook picks for kids who are adventurous and love the outdoors.
Should we add an Ugly Five Quiz? It could be quite funny – here is a test in the meantime (for you or the kids).
We know you would all rather be in the bush and outdoors but in the meantime, we hope we play a little part in lightening up your day and who knows you might be smelling the fresh smells of acacia trees and hearing a hippo grunt before you know it.
Why not start with this EcoTraining Crossword and test your knowledge: