23 Jan
  • By The Boucher Legacy
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The Midnight Story


THE MIDNIGHT STORY

We’re proud to announce that yet another pangolin has been rescued and fitted with a telemetry tracking unit, provided by the Boucher Legacy. Below is the story of one of our courageous pangolins, Midnight, as told by Alexis Kriel from the African Pangolin Working Group.

Midnight’s journey has not been straightforward. He was successfully retrieved from the illegal wildlife trade on August 5, 2022. Despite the perpetrator fleeing the scene, the South African Police Service should be commended for how they tackle the illegal trade of pangolins – with a modus operandi that works, and thanks to this, 30 live pangolins have been rescued from the beginning of this year to date. Still, this is considered only 10% of the actual illegal trade. There is much work to be done in our fight against the extinction of this special order of mammals, known as the Pholidota – the only mammal with scales.

Midnight was soft-released over time at Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, but while he was tracked using the telemetry unit provided by the Boucher Legacy, he started losing weight and was withdrawn. He is now receiving renewed, supported care at an offsite facility affiliated with the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, which specialises in pangolin care. It is likely that Midnight’s weight loss was due to the scarcity of ants,  across the country – at the end of winter, and before the summer rains set in.  Midnight was not yet resourceful enough to cope with it.   We will continue to monitor his progress, and once he is given the veterinary all-clear, he will be re-released.

Gareth Thomas, also known as “Midnight’s Shepard,” watches him closely, and shares the following intimate observation so that we too can gain insight into Midnight’s journey: “Fast asleep, nestled safely in the arms of a Jacket Plum tree in the African wild, I watched this ancient soul dreaming. I wonder if he dreamt of freedom when he was being held captive. I wonder if he has nightmares of being held captive now that he’s free. I wonder if he dreams about me like I have him.”

Midnight is a real trooper, and he deserves the best wildlife that our beautiful country has to offer.