A total of 63 pangolins have been rescued, a majority of them seized from illegal traders in northern Vietnam in August.
Their rescue is the result of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP), a cooperation between the national not for profit organization Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) and Cuc Phuong National Park.
According to SVW, 56 pangolins were confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade by Thanh Hoa Province police on August 13.
Six others were transferred from Pu Mat National Park, Nghe An, while a single pangolin came from Nghe An Province police.
Under the program, each animal will undergo a quarantine period and receive veterinary care to treat wounds and illness sustained in the trade before being released to the wild.
Often trafficked tightly coiled in synthetic mesh bags, pangolins commonly arrive with wounds from snare traps, dog bites, and other injuries which require specialist treatment, according to SVW.
The majority of the critically endangered pangolins were Sunda pangolin, although two were Chinese pangolin, a species which is rarely encountered in Vietnam, conservationists said.
Heidi Quine, SVW technical advisor, said that "the hard work begins" after the rescue.
“We carefully rehabilitate these animals before releasing them back to the wild in support of wild populations,” she said.
Major Tran Minh Son of Nghe An police said his agency will coordinate closely with CPCP to hand over smuggled wildlife for conservation.
In a further boon for conservation of the species, SVW has helped a local resident in Ho Chi Minh City to transfer a Sunda pangolin to Cu Chi Rescue Center.
This marks the second time a member of the public has contacted SVW to voluntarily hand over a pangolin, a species which if sold on the black market attracts hefty sums, according to SVW.
Earlier in June, SVW has released 35 pangolins seized from poachers to the Cat Tien National Park.