The pangolin, only about a month old when rescued, has been named Hope 

By Ally Mauch
May 28, 2020 03:18 PM
pangolin rescued
Credit: Zoological Society of London

A baby pangolin has been rescued and nursed back to health after the endangered animal was found alone on the roadside in Thailand.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), along with Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and a vet from Mahidol University, came to the pangolin’s rescue after a local saw the animal, who was only about a month old at the time.

The male pangolin, later named Hope, was not expected to survive at first but rescuers were able to rehabilitate him. Hope has gained weight, and is now spending his days snacking on ant eggs and practicing his climbing skills while he is being nursed back to full health.

These are all signs that he can be released back into the wild, a release from ZSL said.

pangolin rescued
Credit: Zoological Society of London
pangolin rescued
Credit: Zoological Society of London

"It’s been an anxious few weeks for the ZSL team taking care of Hope: he’s the first infant we’ve ever rescued so it’s certainly been a steep learning curve – getting him to accept bottle-feeding and making sure he has 24-hour care," a conservationist with the organization, Dr. Eileen Larney, said in the release. "ZSL consults with pangolin experts globally and are fortunate to work in close partnership with Mahidol’s local wildlife veterinary team to provide the best care possible."

She continued: "After being given this precious second chance  — something many of his species do not — we’re now assessing whether Hope can be released into the wild, but even there, like all pangolins, he sadly faces an uncertain future."

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Pangolins, recognizable for the scales that cover their bodies, are among the most trafficked mammals in the world. All eight species of pangolins, which are native to Africa and Asia, are threatened with extinction due to poaching.

Dr. Andrew Terry, ZSL’s Director of Conservation and Policy, said Hope’s name applies to both his individual story and to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"Hope was named by the ZSL team for the second chance he has been given, but his name is also appropriate for the unprecedented times we're all experiencing," he said. "Everyone needs a little hope right now."