Orphaned Pangolin Was So Tiny She Had To Be Bottle-Fed

Now you can "adopt" her for Christmas.

No one knows exactly what happened to her mother, but Pangi was just an infant black-bellied pangolin when she was found all alone, dehydrated and starving.

Considering that pangolins are critically endangered because they're the world's most trafficked mammal, it's likely that Pangi's mother met a cruel fate. It's estimated that a pangolin is killed every hour in Asia, where there is high demand for their scales, which are used in traditional medicine, and for their meat, which is considered a delicacy.

The shy, nocturnal animals, who curl up when they get scared, often find themselves packed tightly in crates to be smuggled into the countries where they're most valuable.

It is estimated that over a million pangolins have been killed in the last decade alone.

It was crucial that Pangi, who was found near the Dzangha Sangha National Park in the Central African Republic back in December 2014, survive, for her own good and for the survival of her species.

Pangi was so tiny, she still needed to be bottle-fed around the clock.

"Pangi was lucky to have been found, and taken to a local tourist eco-lodge, where she received expert care under the guidance of Zimbabwe's Tikki Hywood Trust, experienced at rescuing pangolins," Born Free Foundation, the organization that helped support Pangi's rescue, wrote. "She quickly gained weight and confidence, and two years on, still spends much of her time exploring her wild environment. She is carefully monitored to protect her from hunters, and to gather valuable information about this elusive species."

"Pangi's fate is unusual but fortuitous, and perhaps represents the situation facing the world's pangolins: hammered by a cruel fate but now being thrown a lifeline," Gabriel Fava, programs manager for Born Free Foundation, said in a statement. "At last, people are at least hearing of the existence of these largely unknown but uniquely wonderful animals, and solid attempts at protection are being made."

Pangi, who showed strength and a strong will to survive, has come such a long way since she was rescued.

Pangi is now 2 years old and lives freely in the forests surrounding Sangha Lodge, where people can still keep an eye on her for her own safety.

She even visits the lodge occasionally to dine.

"Our adopted pangolin, Pangi, is getting her ant fix in this charming video from our dear friends at Sangha Lodge," Born Free Foundation wrote recently.

Given the threats to her species, it's so nice to see Pangi munching on ants, apparently without a care in the world.

Looking for a unique gift? You can "adopt" Pangi here, and the funds will go toward helping pangolin conservation.