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A Surprising Encounter

May 19, 2014

A Surprising Encounter

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Tim Lewthwaite Tim Lewthwaite

Roxy was her name. She lurched out of the dried grass and onto the dirt road in front of me as she foraged for food. Then, she did something I did not expect—she stood up on her two hind legs and started to walk with her forelegs tucked up neatly under her chest. With her armor-like scales and broad tail, it looked as if she was a miniature holdover from the age of dinosaurs. This was not your regular wildlife sighting in southern Africa.

Roxy was a rescued pangolin that had been caught to be sold in the illegal wildlife trade in Namibia. Seeing a pangolin in the wild is a rare thing as they usually forage for termites at night. Getting to see one up close was one of the great wildlife moments of my career.

Nikon D80 with Nikkor 70-300mm Lens


Otjozondjupa, Namibia Map It

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6 comments

Lisa Jaycox
May 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm

What a rare opportunity and amazing photo! Thank you for sharing your find with us.

Tim Lewthwaite
May 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Lisa,
It was a remarkable encounter. In a bit of an aside, the week before I arrived in Namibia, Roxy had given birth. I was one of the first people to be able to get a photo of a baby pangolin nursing from its mother. Roxy has since returned to the wild, but hopefully, posts like this can help people realize how interesting, beautiful and sensitive animals are, and how it is worth protecting them and their habitats.
Tim

Julie Larsen Maher
May 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Pangolins are unique in appearance. Their plight in the wildlife trade, I am guessing, is not. Do pangolins occur in places other than Namibia?

Tim Lewthwaite
May 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Julie,
Pangolins are found in tropical Africa and Asia. Their meat in considered a delicacy in China and it is also believed (falsely) that their scales have some medicinal value.
Tim

Madeleine Thompson
May 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I loved learning about Roxy the pangolin! I didn’t realize that they walked like this. Thank you for sharing, Tim!

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