Kya the pangolin, who was rescued from a group of poachers in a bust this month in Kyalami, was not strong enough to be rehabilitated and had to be put down last week.
On 4 March, the rescued pangolin was named Kya after she was rescued in a multidisciplinary sting operation at Kyalami Corner in which six suspects were arrested.
Kya was the fourth pangolin to be rescued in 2021.
The first bust happened in Kempton Park at beginning of the year, followed by two in the Northern Cape – one in Upington and one in Kimberley.
After the rescue at the beginning of the month, Kya was placed under the care of Dr Kalsey Shinner and Dr Karin Lourens at Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.
Lourens, who is the founder of the hospital, said Kya’s health took a turn for the worse last week and she was euthanised on Friday.
“Her lungs were badly affected by the long captivity and we had to make a call,” Lourens said.
She said an animal’s health is commonly compromised by being in captivity for long periods because they are often not fed properly and develop other health issues.
“We estimate she was about 10 years old and she was very weak.” Kya was treated for wounds and an infection that developed where a scale had been removed.
“Kya received a series of treatments in an attempt to save her life, but the treatments didn’t work. This was the worst state I have seen a rescued pangolin in,” Lourens said.
The animal was initially placed on oxygen due to her reduced lung capacity, presumably from being in captivity for such a long period of time.
Lourens said the hospital is looking forward to receiving another pangolin for treatment later this week after the animal was confiscated a few days ago.
Since the opening of the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital four years ago, a total of 155 pangolins have been treated at the facility.