This is a story of the persistence and resilience of a pangolin and of the people who watch over her – the dedicated researchers and wildlife monitors who have kept tabs on her since her release.

The pangolin in this story is our very own super-mom, Ally, who was retrieved from the trade in April 2020, released and gave birth to a pup in the months that followed. We are still overjoyed with all the “firsts” Ally and her pup, Pod has given us. Read the full story here.

Ally’s year in the wild

In the year since his birth, Pod has grown up and moved away, while his mother Ally has established herself in a good territory. Through discreet monitoring via her satellite and VHF tags and the strategic placement of trail cameras, the team on the ground has been able to build up a fascinating picture of wild pangolin behaviour. This is unprecedented as pangolins are among the most secretive and elusive mammals in the wild.

One of the most interesting developments was that of a wild pangolin visiting Ally’s burrow. We had no way of knowing if these visits were territorial or if they had another function, but Ally soon lets us know. In recent trail camera footage, Ally was caught emerging from her burrow with a new pup riding on her back. Watch the video below.

(Trail camera footage © Níall Beddy and Whitney Fourie;  First visual footage ©Francois Meyer)

This new pup makes Ally’s story the first documented case of a reintroduced pangolin, originating from the illegal wildlife trade, successfully integrating into the wild population. A true pangolin success story!

It takes a village to raise a pangolin pup

There is an incredible team of people behind the success of Ally’s story, and they need acknowledging. Especially the team on the ground who spend days trying to track down pangolins and without whom we would not have a successful release programme. If you want to know what is involved, watch the Francois in action here 

Thank you to

  • Francois Meyer, our Limpopo Field Manager, for managing Ally’s release and taking the lead on her monitoring and for all his hard work and research into pangolin behavior.
  • Níall Beddy and Whitney Fourie for their hard work in the field, their dedicated monitoring work, and for capturing the amazing trail camera footage.
  • Byron Pace from the Into the Wilderness podcast who, in collaboration with Scott Country, donated the trail cameras to aid Francois’s work, allowing us to capture these fascinating moments.
  • Ironman 4×4 for assistance with Francois’ vehicle. It covers some rough terrain and doubles up as high ground for tracking pangolins.
  • Lori Roos from Global 2×2 for donating the satellite tag used to monitor Ally’s movements in the critical post-release period.
  • The team at the African Pangolin Working Group for all their contributions.
  • The team at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital for their treatment and care of Ally before her release last year.

The most important thanks

Finally thank you to Professor Ray Jansen. Not only for his dedication and hard work in the recovery of pangolins, but also for his guidance during all aspects of their recovery and release. In honor of his contribution to all our work, Ally’s new pup will be named Ray.

Help us keep track

To help us in our work of tracking released pangolins and learning more about their secretive lives, please contribute towards our tracking equipment.