Equatorial Guinea: Releasing Pangolins in the Wild

So we bought three live pangolins at the Bata market and took them to the jungle to release. There are three species of pangolins in Equatorial Guinea and this was the most common one – the tree pangolins aka Phataginus tricuspis. Absolutely adorable, these are sadly the most trafficked animals on the planet, with approximately 100k being killed per year, mostly for pseudo-medicinal use in China and Vietnam. Pangolins are very prehistoric looking, covered in hard keratin scales (the only such mammal) and rolling into armor-plated balls when threatened (no predators can actually bite through the balled pangolins). They are mostly ant and termite eaters, with their tongues up to 40cm long and very sticky, they are picky on the species of termites they eat. Also, pangolins have no teeth and swallow small stones to improve digestion. Pangolins are mostly nocturnal, and only the tree pangolin can climb trees. They have poor vision and rely on their sense of smell. Pangolins can also walk on their hind legs and stand upright. Our three pangolins got released into a pristine and virgin jungle near the river and all three were quite happy, one of them even climb a tree right above us and felt totally at home. Mission accomplished – three pangolins saved!