The pangolin that was found in the upscale suburban neighborhood of Ayala Alabang has made quite a stir this past week. Nicknamed Pandi by his rescuers, the pangolin’s story has fortunately led more private citizens to step up and offer help.
Pandi departed the wildlife rescue center in Manila early on the morning of Saturday, August 21, to catch a flight on Cebu Pacific departing at 8:30am. In Puerto Princesa, he was met by the staff of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), who will facilitate his safe release back into the wild.
Pandi was transported via the Wildlife Ambulance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), accompanied by veterinarians and staff from the National Wildlife Rescue and Research Center (NRWWC).
Atty Edward Lorenzo from the Conservation International Philippines, who has helped Pandi through the entire rescue process from the beginning, was happy to report that the pangolin seemed lively and likot during the road trip. And after obliging Lorenzo with photos, Pandi took the newspapers and burrowed under, covering the door of his carrier as if to say, “Enough pictures, please.”
While the pangolin finally decided to fly commercial, many other individuals came forward to offer assistance. Environmentalist and Ayala Alabang resident Anna Varona, who helped coordinate Pandi’s rescue, tells Coconuts that someone even offered an uninhabited island in Palawan for the pangolin’s new home. “That couldn’t pull through because Pandi has to be released in a PCSD sanctuary,” says Varona, though that wasn’t the end of his options.
A second offer came from freight forwarding company Airspeed, but Pandi’s release forms from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) came out just a few hours before the flight on Friday. Thankfully, there was a flight scheduled at 8:30 in the morning the next day. “It was exhilarating to have these three options,” says Varona.
Pandi will be released into a pangolin sanctuary assigned by PCSD. These highly guarded locations remain undisclosed, and visitors are not allowed to enter the premises, adds Varona.
In the meantime, Varona says that she hopes future wildlife rescues will be just as easy, if not more so. “I am hoping the pangolin repatriation process will be reviewed. It is urgent to get them back to their natural habitat right away.”