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A cement room furnished with tree branches

As the illegal wildlife trade continues, confiscations increase and we expand our facilities to cope with more pangolins and small carnivores.

November 30 2016
Through the kind support of WTG, we have just completed the building of 12 new quarantine enclosures. 2016 has seen a large rise in confiscated animals being transferred to our rescue centre in Cuc Phuong National Park. In 2016 we have received over 250 pangolins and 10 small carnivores to our centre which have sometimes stretched our capacity. The new multi-functional enclosures can house pangolins and small carnivores and bring to a total of 32 quarantine enclosures in addition to existing enclosures for our longer term residents who cannot be released due to health or safety reasons.
Unfurnished quarantine enclosure

Unfurnished quarantine enclosure.

The quarantine enclosures are for short term residents of our centre. Once an animal is transferred to us, it spends generally 20- 30 days in quarantine while its health is monitoredprior to its release back to a safe habitat in the wild.
Critically endangered pangolins are very susceptible to captive stress and have very special housing requirements. They need safe climbing space, a sleeping burrow where they can feel safe and secure (and warm in winter), and easy access for keepers so they can monitor pangolins with minimum disruption while they are recovering from wound injuries, digestive problems, stress and dehydration that are common in confiscated animals.

Digging the foundations for the new quarantine building

The quarantine enclosures are designed to house two animals at a time if required, however ideally we house animals individually. This is because pangolins are solitary animals and most do better when housed alone. Although on some occasions we have observed that some pangolins prefer a companion in their enclosure. Mothers and pups remain together until the pup is independent and ready for release. This may take up to six or nine months and so these animals are moved to a larger pangolarium while awaiting their eventual release back to wild.

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As a locally led frontline Non-profit organisation in Vietnam, we rely on our supporters, donors and volunteers who make our work possible. Without our supporters, animals would not be fed, let alone released. We wouldn’t have money to hire the truck to transport pangolins to release sites, we wouldn’t have enough medical supplies to look after animals when they come to injured and sick from the illegal wildlife trade. We wouldn’t have staff to work with communities, train rangers and lobby for law changes nationally.

As a locally led frontline Non-profit organisation in Vietnam, we rely on our supporters, donors and volunteers who make our work possible. Without our supporters, animals would not be fed, let alone released. We wouldn’t have money to hire the truck to transport pangolins to release sites, we wouldn’t have enough medical supplies to look after animals when they come to injured and sick from the illegal wildlife trade. We wouldn’t have staff to work with communities, train rangers and lobby for law changes nationally.

Today, we’d like to celebrate our supporters who raise funds for us and in the process give us hope not just for animals and conservation but for people as well. People like Alegria Olmeda who started a group called People for Pangolins and began the international ‘Pump it for Pangolins’ events that occur on World Pangolin day. Or Hattie Ashton for two years running has run bake sales to raise money for us. Or Mike Matthews who designs and sells T-shirts and donates the profits to worthy frontline organisations around the world. Buy his pangolin T-shirt- profits come to us!. One recent story of group who raised funds for us, completely touched our hearts. We saw a donation come through our Paypal system the note said from Deb Glass and her class. We always love hearing when kids get involved in conservation, so we emailed her and asked her what she did. She wrote back was inspiring for us. We learnt not only about how good people can be, but how teachers all around the world do wonderful things. Here is an edited version of what she wrote:

This is how our “Save the Pangolin” project came about.  I teach a third grade class in a mid-city school in Los Angeles, California.  Earlier in the year, the students learned about endangered animals by picking one animal each to study that was on the critically endangered species list.  They researched the animal, found out why it was critically endangered, then created a PowerPoint presentation about their findings.

They loved their project so much that I decided to extend it by creating a social justice unit for them.  I asked the students to pick a critically endangered animal that they had not already studied.  We looked at pictures of the animals on the list, and the kids picked the pangolin.  None of us had heard of it, they thought it was interesting looking, and also decided that it was cute.

We started working on the unit.  I decided we would raise money by having a “store.”  We would sell erasers, pencils, bookmarks, and notepads to other children at school.  The kids got to work.  We divided into 5 groups: executive, warehouse, personnel, advertising, and financial.  The kids wrote business plans; they wrote a persuasive letter to our principal asking for permission to have the store; they ordered the supplies; wrote a loan paper to me (I was their “investor” who needed to be reimbursed for my outlay of money); wrote up time sheets and a schedule for classmates to work the store; created two PowerPoints about the pangolin to share with each 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class at school (approximately 230 children); created posters about the pangolin; decided on prices for our products so that we would have a profit; created two different flyers to send home; and a few other things!

We set five days for selling… Because all of the other students had seen a PowerPoint about the pangolin, had learned about it and why it was endangered, they wanted to help by buying our products.  One of my students suggested that we also put out a donation can so that kids might be inclined to give their change from their purchase. We ran out of most of our products by the third day of our sale!  Thank you for asking us to share our classroom story!  The children wrote a letter to Mr. Nguyen and it will go in the mail today, so that will be coming, too.

Our profit was $340 after paying me back for our initial investment!  The students were so incredibly excited they wanted to order more things to sell and keep the project going.  Unfortunately, we had to move on to other units of study!  What they didn’t even completely realize was how much math and writing we were doing throughout the unit.  It was so fun to watch them learn and be so totally engaged in their learning.  Connecting learning to a real-life scenario is significantly more powerful and meaningful for students than a “regular” course of study.

So, that is our story. I feel it is imperative that students be taught that no matter how old they are (or young for that matter), and even if they can’t do everything, everyone can and should do something to help make our world a better place.

Thank you all for dedicating your lives to save the pangolins. I’m glad we were able to give a little help to this critically endangered animal.

Thank you to all our supporters! Deb Glass’s class raised 340 USD. Enough money for us to feed two pangolins for 17 weeks; or rescue 3 pangolins (about 100 USD per trip) and medical supplies for one month; or spend one week in the field tracking pangolins with camera traps (300 USD) and buy 2 sleeping boxes (20 USD each) with the change!

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