Tikki Hywood Foundation and Gonarezhou Conservation Trust formed a partnership in 2017 to begin a unique project reintroducing displaced, rescued, recovered and rehabilitated pangolins into Gonarezhou National Park, an innovative and world first program. To date, this is the longest running post-release monitoring program for pangolins in Zimbabwe and we still have a great deal to learn about the world’s most trafficked mammal.
The increase in the trafficking of pangolins, elevated global awareness of this trade and intensified policing at local levels has resulted in an amplified requirement for rehabilitation and release management, not just in Zimbabwe – but throughout Africa. Although there are many well equipped and experienced animal rehabilitation facilities in Africa, none of them are as specially prepared for pangolins as THF has become.
As recognized experts, we must continually adjust, refine, and seek out methodologies that will further the conservation of the species. We find ourselves coming full circle back to the field work, to understand this scaly mammal at an individual level, informing us comprehensively of their needs and requirements to sustain in a natural environment after enduring the horrors of trafficking.
With the support and participation of Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, the project aims to validate our rehabilitation efforts and construct and manipulate protocols and guidelines through field monitoring and this will capacitate other conservation partners in saving pangolins.