Little Pangolin Who Got Lost Almost Ended Up On A Dinner Plate

The perfect person saved him ❤️️

This week, a palm oil farmer in Thailand found an unexpected guest on the top of a palm tree — a pangolin curled up in a C-shaped ball.

“The farmer was surprised to find him in his farm, far away from the natural forest,” Tom Taylor, assistant director of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), an organization that rescues wild animals in Thailand, told The Dodo.

Pangolin curled up in ball

Friends of the farmer immediately offered to buy the pangolin so they could eat him — in many parts of Asia, pangolin meat is considered a delicacy. But the kind farmer refused. Instead, he arranged to transfer the pangolin to WFFT’s rescue center, and even drove him there himself.

“It’s great when members of the public want to help wildlife,” Taylor said.

Pangolin curled up in cup holder of car
The pangolin hid in the cupholder of the farmer's truck on the way to the rescue center. | WFFT

While all of this was happening, the pangolin stayed curled up in a ball, which is what pangolins do when they’re scared. However, he may have also been sleepy, Taylor explained. Pangolins are nocturnal creatures, and shouldn’t be awake during the day.

On the drive to the WFFT rescue center, the pangolin bunkered down inside the cup holder of the man’s truck and stayed in there. When they arrived, the WFFT team had to gently coax him out.

Panglin at rescue center

The WFFT team did a brief medical exam on the pangolin, and decided he was fit and ready to be released back into the wild as soon as possible.

Pangolin in box to be released
The pangolin being transferred to the release site | WFFT

“We reached out to Kaeng Krachan National Park, and with their cooperation and assistance, a release site was selected,” Taylor wrote on Facebook. “The pangolin was a little sleepy upon release and after scoping out its idyllic new home, it curled up for a nap in the safe undergrowth of a lush forest next to a small pond.”

Pangolin being released back in the forest
The pangolin was successfully released back into the forest. | WFFT

While this pangolin was lucky to be rescued, others are in dire need of help. Pangolins are prized for their meat and scales, which are used in traditional Asian medicine — and the trade of these shy animals is running rampant. In fact, pangolins are currently the most trafficked species in the world, and most pangolin subspecies are either endangered or critically endangered.

Pangolin after being released back into the wild

Fortunately, this pangolin ended up in the forest, rather than the cooking pot.

“He was one of the lucky ones,” Taylor said. “We were able to take him deep into a protected forest for away from human settlements. We hope he can live a long wild life.”

To help rescue pangolins and other wild animals in Thailand, you can make a donation to WFFT.