Cape Town - Pangolins are among the most trafficked animals in the world and
as one of Africa's Secret Seven spotting one is a rare and treasured
experience, with some bush-lovers going decades without being afforded the
The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that
between 2006 and 2015, more than a million pangolins have been poached from the
wild and traded illegally. While Asia’s four species of pangolins are most
heavily trafficked, Africa’s four species are increasingly at risk.
Adding to the outrage associated with the treatment
of this quirky-looking creature is this short clip posted to YouTube/ A guide
gets out of his car and actually gives one a hard thump with his foot under the
premise of allowing a good photo opportunity.
In the description, YouTube user Jason Janse van Vuuren writes, "On a
night drive in Kruger at Punda Maria, ranger Veli left the vehicle and
aggressively kicked this endangered and beautiful creature so he could get a
picture of it.
"He later made comments about going back to
capture the animal so he could charge the public to see it. This is the problem
with conservation. Rangers that think this is acceptable should never be
allowed to interact with these animals let alone guide. We are appalled and
deeply saddened by the event to say the least."
WATCH: Ranger kicks a pangolin
Comments posted to Facebook about the video have
called for the guide to be taken to task, while others have implied that more
training and grading needs to be put in place for rangers and guides.
Madeleine Skeoch says, "Shocking video. Even
hearing the guest shouting "no, no, no ,no!" He doesn't stop and
justifies it by saying it's so you can take a picture. Sickening behaviour. I'm
glad he has been reported and this can be investigated where ever it is."
Jason Van Der Merwe says, "It makes me angry when i see guides making a
bad name for all of us...i can sometimes see why the public don’t want to
accept us in the industry. I must tell you that there are certain people in the
industry that shouldn't be here...so heart-breaking...."
While Bheki Shangase says, "This is proof enough that the quality or
standards of the so called "guides" or you can simply call them
"drivers" has deteriorated. I was fortunate enough earlier in my
career to do the same work in KNP that Veli is doing, at the time the standards
were very high.
"I am a regular visitor in the park and try to
go once every year. So this has become a pilgrimage to me and my loved ones.
Last week I was there and as usual I did not miss a sunset/night drive. The
experience was shockingly poor as the "guide" showed no knowledge or
passion what so ever about the job they doing. The incident in Punda is
therefore not surprising to me, the guide probably does not even know what the
Pangolin is all about, hence such idiotic behaviour. He has no respect for
wildlife habitat and space. He does not belong to Kruger and disciplinary
action only won't be adequate. A record needs to be set," says Shangase.
Shelley Horton says, "That is the most awful thing I have seen in a
while... I really hope appropriate action will be taken. Can't have rangers
like that in the park. I have been going to the park for 40 years and never had
the privilege to see a Pangolin. Am disgusted!"
SANPARKS - KNP Regional Tourism Manager
Michelle van der Merwe who responded to post says, "We are currently investigating
this incident and we do take this matter as very serious. A statement has
already been requested from the field guide who conducted the night drive. Please
allow us to follow our internal processes to ensure that corrective measures
can be taken."
Traveller24 has requested feedback and
will post an update as soon as it is available.
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