Endangered Baby Pangolin Kept in Cramped Darkness by Poacher Is Rescued and Released

Kelli Bender

Kosin the baby Sunda pangolin has finally seen the light.

The critically endangered animal was rescued from a poacher, who was keeping the little pangolin in cramped conditions and constant darkness. Zoological Society of London, a international conservation charity, assisted with the rescue and believes that the puppy-sized Kosin was being kept alive by the poacher since live pangolins, often bought on the black market for their meat and scales, are worth more money than dead pangolins.

A ZSL team helped to save the animal from his dark beginnings and released the animal into wild in Thailand. But before ZSL could put the pangolin back in his native surroundings, they had to make sure Kosin was healthy enough to survive in the wild world.

After rescuing the creature, who only weighed two pounds when he was taken from the poacher, ZSL transported Kosin to a safe place and put him through a health check. Thankfully, little was wrong with Kosin. The pangolin stayed under observation for several days and then was deemed ready for life in the bright, lush outside world.

Yingboon Chongsomchai/ ZSL Thailand

To help protect Kosin from other poachers, the pangolin was transported to a remote area far from known poaching hotspots and released back into the wild.

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“It was an extraordinary moment to watch Kosin being released back into the wild and then take his first steps back to the wild, but sadly his story is rare. Our team was able to get to him in time, care for him and return him to the wild. Thanks to the support of our donors and our incredible team he has been given a precious second chance, something many thousands of his species do not get,” Dr. Eileen Larney, a ZSL conservationist, said in a statement.

Yingboon Chongsomchai/ ZSL Thailand

There are eight species of pangolin and all of them are now threatened to extinction due to poaching. According to ZSL, many conservationists believe pangolins are the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world, with an estimated 300 pangolins being poached from the wild each day.

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Yingboon Chongsomchai/ ZSL Thailand

“A single pangolin is worth up to three months’ wages for rural villagers in Thailand and is considered as valuable as a lottery win,” Dr. Larney added. “However, to combat the illegal pangolin trade we must stop poaching at the source. It’s a complex puzzle which requires global collaboration to both reduce demand and increase protection. This story would have had a very different ending without the quick response of park rangers and ZSL’s conservation partners. Like all pangolins, Kosin faces an uncertain future but in moments like this we have hope.”

Yingboon Chongsomchai/ ZSL Thailand

To make room for more stories like Kosin’s, ZSL is working throughout communities in Thailand, Cameroon, Nepal and the Philippines to raise awareness about the threatened status of pangolins and to protect the dwindling habitat these animals have left.