It was evening time, around 8 pm. Father-in-law was visiting us. Being a farmer all his life, he was inspecting all our plants with a flash light looking for night bugs that could be infesting them.
Suddenly I could hear a mild commotion coming from from where he was. I run out from the kitchen with a towel in my hands to see and to my surprise, he had cornered a female Pangolin into a corner but was hesitating to capture her with bare hands. That’s when I decided to throw a towel over the animal and gently subdue it and take it to a chicken cage.
The next day, the father-in-law was suggesting to sell it to poachers which I categorically refused to do. The Pangolin is on the list of endangered species, so selling it was a big NO. I captured it with intention to release it into the wilderness, not to keep it in captivity or to sell it to poachers.
Two days later, I was sure that the animal wasn’t injured; as a matter of fact, it looked very healthy and anxious to be free again so I decided to let her go free the next day.
The next day, I got-up real early at 05:30 am and decided to put the Pangolin in a rice bag and drive her on the scooter to a safe place. The final 1 km I would walk into the forest for a safe release.
Then, I drove about 3 km to the first creek. To my surprise, the creek was deep, at least one (1) foot deep but after hesitating and carefully inspecting it for a few minutes I miraculously managed to cross it with the scooter without a problem.
The problem is there is a second creek about 500 m further and that one was just too deep to cross with the scooter. It was about two (2) feet deep and fast moving clear cold water. I decided to leave the scooter and wade across with Pangolin inside of the rice bag.
So here I am wading up to my waist in the middle of the creek and suddenly I lost foot and got swept away in fast moving cold water, barely holding the bag with Pangolin inside. And then the unexpected happened, I got hooked by a floating branch and let the bag loose with Pangolin but the bag never sunk. The Pangolin is a natural born swimmer. She was swimming inside of the bag and managed to hold herself above the surface of the water for about 15 m distance until I could grab the bag again and safely take it on the other side of the creek. I never thought it would be an adventure to cross that creek. It didn’t look dangerous but in fact… it was dangerous.
I was soaked wet, but happy to see the Pangolin alive and well.
There was another small creek strait ahead of us and that was the place for the release. A happy and touchy moment followed as I opened the bag and let the Pangolin slowly get out and slowly walk away towards the creek. She was in perfect shape. She started to swim and quickly crossed to the other side. She looked back at me one last time and then she disappeared into dense bush which would probably be her new home.
I was a happy man.