Baby pangolin gets a piggyback

by ZSL on

Our team, working with the Thai government, recently captured some gorgeous camera trap photos of a Sunda pangolin carrying her baby on her tail.

Taken in Khlong Nakha Wildlife Sanctuary (KNWS), this area is one of ZSL’s project sites for the study and protection of Sunda pangolins.

Sunda pangolin and baby

We recorded the first evidence of pangolins in KNWS on a camera trap video in October 2015. These latest pictures show a pangolin carrying her baby as all pangolins do - on her tail!

The camera trap was set in March 2016, at the peak of the dry season, in an area close to one of the few streams still flowing with water.

While walking in the forest looking for pangolin signs, the team noticed a hollow in one of the big trees in the area. Tree hollows are used by Sunda pangolins both as resting and nesting sites.

The size, depth and shape of the hollow convinced the team to position one of the camera traps right in front of it.  Definitely a good choice! After 30 days the camera traps were collected and, to the excitement of the team, the pictures showed a mother carrying her baby in and out the tree hollow.

Sunda pangolin and baby

Sunda pangolins usually only have one baby after a gestation period of three to four months. Young are nurtured in nesting tree hollows for three to four months, but can start eating termites and ants already at one month and this is the time when the young pangolin begins to accompany the mother outside of the tree hollow, riding on her tail, as she goes foraging for insects.

During the same camera trapping period, another camera trap recorded a second pangolin, again not far from a still-flowing stream. These two findings give our team and the rangers a lot of hope about the population status of Sunda pangolin in the area, as well as more information about pangolin ecology.

Many thanks to Fondation Segré and SOS (Save Our Species, an initiative managed by IUCN) for funding the work that made these photos possible.

By Barbara Pollini, ZSL Thailand

Sunda pangolin and baby

ZSL's pangolin conservation work

Select a blog

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!

Conservation

We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.

Science

From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Education

A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Working for Wildlife

Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About Magazine

Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

ZSL Shop

Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Nelson's Island Expedition

ZSL Institute of Zoology researchers are embarking on an exciting fieldwork expedition to Nelson’s Island in the Chagos Archipelago. Throughout the month, the team will share their research and experiences on an uninhabited tropical island!

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.