Every baby is the most adorable creature in existence. And this little pangolin is no exception. His outpouring of love and gratitude to the man who saved him shows us that animals, no matter how tiny they may seem, give us the greatest lessons in life.
Manis or pangolins are very special mammals that live in Asia and Africa. Unfortunately, they are in constant danger, as many hunters and traffickers seek them out to offer them for sale in animal meat markets.
Dr. Mark Ofua learned about this little white-bellied pangolin in urgent need of help.
Dr. Mark Ofua is a specialist in these beautiful little animals and a while back he received a call that made his heart crinkle.
He was informed that there was a baby pangolin whose life was hanging by a thread and he didn’t hesitate to travel to try to help it.
The little mammal was born in captivity, in the midst of a group of bushmeat traders, and without proper help, it would not survive. So the man didn’t think twice and jumped into his vehicle for a 50-kilometer journey to Epe, Lagos, Nigeria.
His mother had suffered a great deal of stress due to the precarious conditions in which she was kept and was barely able to stand upright.
After its birth, the pangolin went days without food and water and Dr. Mark knew it would be a really tough case.
“When I got to the market I realized his chances were already slim. He was born to a weakened mother. He was already hypoglycemic and cold when I found him,” said the rescuer.
The traders agreed to give the pangolin to the rescuer. After all, he was so weak that they didn’t see him as anything more than a “loss”.
Since then, Dr. Mark called him Neal and took him to the SaintMarks Veterinary Hospital and Shelter, so that they could examine him in detail and provide him with different medical treatments.
There he had all the supplies he needed to give the little guy the care he so desperately needed.
She took care of him like a mother would. She gave him hugs to keep him warm and fed him with a bottle and a special formula.
“He is a playful boy who is still learning to be a pangolin. He loves to seek out his caregivers and pet them for comfort – he easily recognizes his feeding blanket and bottle, as he loves his milk!” said Mark.
Thanks to Mark’s dedication the beautiful pangolin survived.
Usually pangolins tend to be shy and very reserved, but Neal seems to be quite the opposite and loves to play with his caregivers. He frequently gives them “baths” with his long, muscular tongue, which he uses to exercise it and learn how to use it correctly, so that he can then hunt ants.
The WildAid organization financed the construction of a “pangolorum”. It is the first of its kind in West Africa and will help many animals in need.
This release area will serve as a safe way for rescued pangolins to be reintroduced into the wild, including Neal.
Mark’s hope is that Neal will make a full recovery and be able to go to SaintMarks pangolin rehabilitation center. This place is in a protected forest where he can spend his days without worrying about terrible hunters.
“He really likes to look for his keepers and pet them to feel comfortable,” Mark said.
This pangolin’s luck was exceptional. Statistics reveal truly frightening figures about the treatment these little animals receive.
According to studies, pangolins are sadly the most trafficked animals in the world, as they are prized for their meat and the unique scales they possess. In particular, the white-bellied pangolin, better known as the tree pangolin, is endangered and is on the IUCN red list.
It is unfair that thousands of innocent beings have to suffer in such a way to be trafficked as mere objects. But, Neal will continue to kiss and pet his caregivers, as a way of thanking them for saving him, as he grows up and lives a happy life.
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