A mother White-bellied tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) nursing her two day old baby.
“When someone unexpectedly hands you a pangolin in a woven plastic sac, what do you do? I was not expecting this, not right now. This poor girl was about to be delivered to a Chinese restaurant (who would have eaten it). A moment later, another bag was produced. It turns out she gave birth to a male offspring, the previous night, within the sac!!! The baby was being kept in a small bag, separate from the mother and near death. I had no hope for them, but I tried anyway.
If EVERYTHING works out perfectly, they will be released in a few weeks and they’ll continue on their journey. Fingers crossed! I think there might be a small chance.”
This is a personal journal entry from a couple months ago when I was traveling in West Africa researching the trade in pangolins. Both her and her baby died a couple days after this photo was taken from suspected organ failure, after seemingly bouncing back for a couple days. Just heart breaking. This job can be frustrating in SO many ways.