Pangolin Safari

Participate in hands-on monitoring and help protect Kalahari pangolins.

Uncover Kalahari Secrets

Learn to track pangolins and unravel the mysteries of this unique ecosystem.

Your Impact Matters

Every observation you make contributes to pangolin conservation in the Kalahari.

Insights for Conservation

Understanding a pangolin’s nocturnal habits offers critical insights for conservation

Pangolin Safari for Conservation in the Kalahari: Join Our Monitoring Efforts

Pangolin Safari and Monitoring in the Kalahari: Unlocking Secrets to Save the Scaly Anteater

Ground Pangolins (Smutsia temminckii), with their armor-like scales and shy nature, are among the world’s most unique – and most trafficked – mammals. We are committed to understanding their lives in the harsh Eastern Kalahari Bushveld through an effective pangolin safari to monitor individuals as this is crucial for their survival in this habitat. Join our monitoring efforts at Working with Wildlife and become part of the global fight to protect these extraordinary creatures. We want to empower our guests to take part in pangolin conservation action through this pangolin safari initiative.

Pangolin waking up, rolled in a ball, with tongue out, Kalahari
A pangolin yawning after a nap!

Meet the Pangolin: Evolution’s Armored Enigma

Person using telemetry to track a pangolin in the Kalahari
Pangolin scent-marking outside a Kalahari burrow

Pangolin Behavior and Ecology

The Threats to a Pangolin’s World

Close-up of fresh pangolin scat on Kalahari ground, Pangolin Monitoring
Close-up of pangolin tracks in Kalahari sand

Khamab Kalahari: A Safe Haven for Pangolin

Pangolin Safari and Monitoring: The Power of Conservation

Working with Wildlife Pangolin Safari and Monitoring Initiative

We’re committed to contribute back to pangolin conservation through our pangolin safari and Monitoring Initiative. We hope that our monitoring efforts help in the knowledge base for protecting ground pangolins in the Eastern Kalahari Bushveld.

How We Monitor

  • Tracking: Pangolins fitted with satellite tags can be monitored in near real time. VHF tags are also fitted to ensure monitored individuals can be found on the ground.
  • Camera Traps: These are placed outside known burrows to reveal pangolin activity and help us identify individuals. Sometimes following one pangolin might be your best way to find another as males are often drawn in by females.

Why a Pangolin Safari Matters

  • Population Trends: Attempt to determine if pangolin numbers on the reserve are stable, increasing, or declining? No current data is available on pangolin populations in the area.
  • Carrying Capacity: It’s important to determine, as best we can, the estimated number of pangolins currently on the reserve, and how many the area can sustain. Pangolins are territorial, and care must be taken to avoid introducing individuals at the expense of others.
  • Diet Decoded: An important part of this pangolin safari involves collecting pangolin scat (droppings) for analysis to identify the ant species they consume, and other hormonal and stress factors. By actively monitoring individuals, we can carefully analyze the ant species consumed by pangolins and note the specific vegetation where these ants are found. Pangolin scats are collected and frozen for future analysis.
  • A Broader Impact: This data contributes to an ongoing Khamab Kalahari research project on the lasting impact of historical herbicide use on wildlife populations. We’ll investigate whether ant species occurrence differs in areas with and without herbicide history.
  • The Ant Connection: By comparing areas with historic herbicide use to untreated areas, we can use this pangolin safari and monitoring to assess if there’s a correlation with the abundance of certain ant species.  This may reveal potential impacts on pangolin populations and other species that depend on a healthy and diverse ant community.
  • Mitigating Fence Dangers: A pangolin safari for monitoring requires the fitment of a satellite tag and this enables us to predict their movements. When they approach the reserve’s electrified perimeter, we’re able to intervene and temporarily disable the fence, preventing potential electrocution. A satellite (GPS) tag is used for identifying the estimated area, and the animal’s VHF tag is used for precise positioning.
  • Prevention Through Understanding: Witnessing how pangolins interact with electrified fences provides invaluable data. This research can hopefully contribute to the development of solutions to safeguard pangolins while maintaining essential safety barriers for other wildlife. Government mandated fencing regulations are implemented for all reserves housing lions and African wild dogs in South Africa.
  • Ecological Role: In theory, being myrmecophagous, pangolins help control ant and termite populations, contributing to a balanced ecosystem. However, given the low density of pangolins throughout sub-Saharan Africa, we cannot know with certainty the significance of their impact.

Ready to join us for this pangolin safari to assist with monitoring? Contact us today!
More questions, read our FAQs
and our Testimonials.

FAQ: Your Pangolin Safari and Monitoring Questions Answered

Why are pangolins endangered?

The primary threat to pangolins globally is illegal trafficking while in South Africa, electrified fencing poses an arguably even greater danger. Pangolins are the world’s most Poached mammal, sought after for their scales used in traditional medicine and their meat considered a delicacy in certain markets. In addition to the relentless poaching pressure, pangolins also face habitat loss and the tragic threat of electrocution on fences as their reflex is to coil into a defensive ball, unintentionally wrapping themselves around the fencing wire.

How Can I Help Pangolins?

  • Support Ethical Conservation: Choose organizations with proven on-the-ground conservation efforts for pangolins (like Khamab Kalahari Reserve!).
  • Donate: The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital cares for pangolins in the immediate aftermath of their rescue and rehabilitates them to the point where a release is made possible.
  • Spread the Word: Share what you’ve learned on our pangolin safari and the monitoring involved to raise awareness about their plight. Social media can be a powerful tool, especially for an animal that is known by so few people!
  • Responsible Tourism: Choose ethical ecotourism providers committed to the protection of pangolins.

Can I see Pangolins at Working with Wildlife?

Yes! Putting this pangolin safari and monitoring project aside, Khamab Kalahari Reserve offers opportunities to potentially observe pangolins and other nocturnal species in their natural habitat. The reserve is home to Aardvark, Aardwolf, Bat-Eared and Cape Foxes, Brown and Spotted Hyenas, Caracals, Genets, Honey Badgers, Leopard, and Porcupines. This pangolin safari and monitoring often includes a night drive, where your chances of encountering these animals are highest. These ethical encounters contribute directly to pangolin conservation efforts on the reserve.

Can I hold a pangolin during my Working with Wildlife experience?

No. While pangolins are fascinating, we prioritize their well-being. Holding wild animals can cause them unnecessary stress, so we avoid it unless absolutely necessary, such as for medical care or to take it out of harm’s way. This applies to pangolins just as much as it does to tortoises, chameleons, or snakes. Our team handles any essential interactions. However, you’ll still have incredible opportunities to observe and contribute to pangolin conservation through this pangolin safari!

Pangolin safari - male pangolin crossing a Kalahari road on two legs, tail extended

Fun Fact

Did you know pangolins are bipedal and walk on two legs? With their armor-like scales and unique foraging style, Temminck’s ground pangolins really are among the world’s most captivating creatures! Like tiny armored dinosaurs, they balance on their powerful hind legs, using their long tails and sometimes even their forelimbs for counterbalance. Pangolin movement is a surprisingly good indicator of their overall health. A healthy pangolin walks confidently on two legs, tail held high. This demonstrates their strength and agility in navigating their environment. This extraordinary adaptation makes pangolin tracking an unforgettable part of any Kalahari safari.

A healthy pangolin strides confidently on its hind legs, tail held high. But a weak or injured pangolin may resort to dragging its tail. For pangolins released back into the wild after rehabilitation, like those on conservation-focused pangolin safaris, monitoring their movement patterns becomes essential. It helps ensure they regain their strength and thrive in their natural habitat. Want to witness these incredible creatures in action and support their protection? Consider a pangolin safari dedicated to their conservation.

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