The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, situated in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa is home to the ground pangolin. Pangolins are species which are rare to see in the wild and little is known about how they cope with the direct heat and the effects of climate change. Therefore, Wendy Panaino from the University of the Witwaterrand has been researching the temperature, diet and activity patterns of the Pangolin in Tswalu. Tswalu is located on the south-western edge of the Pangolin’s distribution range which is expected to become hotter and drier with climate change.
During Wendy’s time at Tswalu she has witnessed two female pangolins giving birth to a single pup each. Wendy has followed the growth of the pangolin pups since their birth through camera traps placed outside the burrow. The most special moment which Wendy experienced was when a female pangolin brought her pup out of the burrow whilst she was observing them. The mother pangolin’s inquisitive side came out as she edged closer to Wendy and stuck out her long sticky tongue to investigate the foreign creature which was before her.
Both pups grew up to leave their mother and explore the reserve themselves. Wendy’s experiences have been extremely memorable and touching, and hopefully her research will contribute to the ongoing conservation efforts of ground pangolins and protecting their future.