PALAWAN, Philippines – A live Palawan pangolin believed to have escaped from the hands of wildlife smugglers was rescued by environment personnel in a subdivision in Angeles City, Pampanga, on Saturday, December 21.
The pangolin was found by Christian Sarmiento in the backyard of his elder brother’s house some 4 days ago.
“We just temporarily placed the pangolin in an enclosure, so it won’t escape and get killed by ill-intentioned people. We were actually curious how it got here. Maybe it managed to flee from wildlife traffickers,” Sarmiento said.
Environment authorities have identified the Subic and Clark freeport zones in Central Luzon as “convenient gateway[s] of wildlife violators for doing their illegal activities.”
Pangolins are consumed in China for their unproven healing properties.
The Palawan pangolin, also known as the Philippine pangolin, is endemic or can only be found in the island province.
It was recently declared as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which assesses the conservation status of species. With that classification, this scaly anteater that regulates the populations of ants and termites faces “an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”
The stray pangolin was turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Luzon for pickup and eventual transfer to a rescue center. Once it recovers, the native species will be returned to Palawan. (READ: All hope is not lost for vanishing Palawan pangolin)
“Usually, on the same day after the rescue, we transfer it to the nearest rescue center. In the case of pangolin, it’s in the Biodiversity Management Bureau in Manila,” DENR Central Luzon wildlife enforcer Michael Lopez said. – Rappler.com
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