Nature

Korsha – The secret Life of a Pangolin

Synopsis

‘Korsha’ tells the story of the fascinating journey of an orphaned baby pangolin rescued from poachers, and the team of local Zimbabweans who support her right to be a wild and free pangolin. This heartfelt tale offers new insight into how we can save the most trafficked mammal on the planet through ground-breaking science. Science that only Korsha can provide as researchers monitor her life in the wild.

 A small truck races down a long gravel road in the lush, fiercely beautiful Zimbabwe bush. The driver is world-renowned wild animal rehabilitator Lisa Hywood. Beside her something squirms inside a sack – a baby pangolin – and Lisa is on a mission to save it.

At the world-renowned Tikki Hywood animal rehabilitation centre Lisa now cradles the tiny creature – part mini-dinosaur, part baby dragon – as she tries unsuccessfully to get it to suckle milk from a bottle.

This orphaned pangolin was headed for the illegal wildlife trade until rangers saved her. Her life still hangs in the balance. She has rejected the bottle and she may be too young to take solid food. If she doesn’t eat soon, she will starve. As a last resort Lisa and her team offer the baby some adult pangolin food – ants. To their wonder and relief, she licks them up immediately.

Korsha is a survivor.

Korsha, “the precious one”, now a feisty pup, settles into life at the centre along with a constant stream of other wild creatures – bat-eared foxes, civets, a rumbunctious otter, and other pangolins.
Nine months later she is strong enough to be returned to the wild. Korsha flourishes. All the while her progress is monitored by a small team of researchers. Their study will become the longest and most extensive of its kind in the world.

When Korsha’s behaviour changes there is tentative excitement. Could she be pregnant or have given birth? The researchers carefully send a remote camera down her burrow. Onscreen is a tiny pup!

Korsha has made pangolin history as the first rehabilitated pangolin to mate successfully with a wild pangolin. We follow her journey as the research team continue to gather unique data about her life. Already, radical new insights into pangolin behaviour and reproduction have been revealed.

After a second chance at life this remarkable animal has begun to give back. The new scientific knowledge will be used to benefit pangolin conservation worldwide.

We have unique access to this unfolding story. The survival of Korsha is a tale of hope for the world’s most trafficked mammal. For the first time, we have the privilege to witness the secret life of a very special pangolin.

*****

“Pangolins are very important in the whole ecosystem that we have. If you lose pangolins you upset all sorts of things, but the sheer humanity of not looking after such a beautiful gentle animal as a pangolin breaks my heart.” Sir David Attenborough