pangolin sighting: matt brennan
After completing a lodge inspection, I was making my way from Little Bush Camp to do a safari rendezvous (meet up with another Land Rover) for the guest I had with me. I slowed down when we came across what I initially thought was a pushed over Bushmans' Lantern (a small fibrous shrub, so-called because indigenous Bushmen used it to transport fire between camps). This 'lantern' was about a meter from my vehicle in the grass, keeping very still. I thought that it looked a bit odd and it was not really the right area for the plant, when the realisation hit me as to what it was. Just a few paces from me was my very first Pangolin sighting!!
I'm pretty sure that the guest I was with must have thought I had seen several leopards given my excitement as I tried to explain to her what I had just found. For an elusive creature the pangolin was certainly very relaxed with our presence. As it is traditionally a nocturnal animal, at half past three in the afternoon it was possibly the rarest daylight sighting in Africa.
After several minutes I managed to calm down and called it in on the radio for the other guides. What followed next was an exodus to come and see the Pangolin and a two vehicle limit was placed at the sighting to avoid any stress being placed on the animal. The Pangolin was happy, staying astonishingly relaxed, foraging for ants on the ground in full view and offering his best side for photographs!
One of our guides has worked in the bush for nine years and this was her first ever sighting of a Pangolin. The experience was truly magical, a definite once in a lifetime for some of the people who live and work in the bush and a treasure for our friends just visiting.