5 January 2012

Kenya: Rare Ground Pangolin Rescued From Poachers in Rimoi Reserve

A rare and endangered animal - ground pangolin - was rescued from poachers in Kerio Valley. John Ngalia, the Kenya Wildlife Service deputy warden in charge of Rimoi Game Reserve said KWS officers got a tip off on Monday and moved into action, seizing the animal and arresting one suspect. Two others are said to have escaped.

Ngalia said the suspect was reportedly among a gang of poachers responsible for the declining number of wild animals in the region. The poachers, he said, must have been hunting the animal for a long time as it was hard to find. Unlike with elephants, hunting of the ground pangolin is not deemed obviously illegal in Kenya.

The KWS official said the suspected poachers were reportedly linked with the outside market to channel their products to Asian countries. In Asia, the ground pangolin is used as a delicacy, while its scales are used for making clothes. Ngalia said the animal would be returned to its natural habitat. Meanwhile, the animal became the centre of attraction, as curious onlookers milled around the cage, to have a glimpse of the rare ant eater.

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