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Joburg vet performs world-first procedure on baby pangolin

The ground-breaking procedure was done by a team at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital led by Fourways vet Dr Alain Carter.

The baby pangolin being cared for at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital. Picture: @johannesburgwildlifevet/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - In a world first, South African wildlife vets have inserted a gastric peg tube into the stomach of a baby pangolin rescued from poachers.

The animal is too weak to feed on its own so vets had to come up with a way of ensuring it can eat until it's strong enough to feed on its own.

The ground-breaking procedure was done by a team at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital led by Fourways vet Dr Alain Carter.

This was so that Menina, as the pangolin’s been named, gets enough food without having to be anesthetised to put a feeding tube down her mouth.

Initially, she did well, but sadly today the animal’s survival looks far from certain. Vet Karin Lourens says this technique can be used again.

As the most trafficked mammals in the world, pangolins are often in very poor physical condition when rescued, having been kept for days without food or water.

Endangered pangolins will receive the highest level of protection against illegal trade, says the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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