From Wildlife Lovers to Pangolin Saviors

In the relentless battle against wildlife exploitation and habitat loss, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) stands as a beacon of hope. At the forefront of this noble cause are two dedicated experts, Kelsey – SVW Veterinary Manager, and Sander – Husbandry Advisor, each contributing their unique skills and passion to the organization’s mission.

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Kelsey, a compassionate veterinarian from South Africa, embarked on her journey with the dream of helping creatures unable to fend for themselves. Growing up surrounded by wildlife, she witnessed firsthand the challenges of wildlife conflict, igniting a fervent passion for wildlife rehabilitation and conservation.
Her introduction to pangolins four years ago was serendipitous, as she worked tirelessly in South Africa rescuing and rehabilitating indigenous wildlife. Pangolins, key players in her efforts, captivated Kelsey with their distinct personalities. Despite facing stress and compromise upon rescue, Kelsey found solace in the unique trust pangolins placed in their rescuers.
Joining SVW in the manager role within the veterinary team, Kelsey champions open-minded thinking in wildlife rehabilitation. She aims to infuse new ideas and experiences into the team, fostering growth in knowledge and care for the rescued animals. Through her experiences, Kelsey emphasizes the challenges of caring for pangolin pups, highlighting the critical need for routine, patience, and understanding their individual quirks.
Stress remains a formidable adversary, as rescued pangolins grapple with the trauma inflicted upon them by humans. Her hope extends beyond immediate rescue efforts to a future where public awareness and accountability cease pangolin trade. Kelsey calls on individuals to support SVW actively through social media engagement and learning about their work.
Complementing Kelsey’s dedication is Sander Obbink, the Husbandry Advisor at SVW. With over 11 years as a zookeeper in the Netherlands, Sander’s transition to SVW was fueled by a desire to contribute directly to wildlife conservation.
His passion for pangolins was born out of the unique challenge they posed in comparison to other species he had worked with. Discovering the distinctiveness of pangolins, Sander found joy in the intricacies of improving their husbandry.
At SVW, Sander plays a pivotal role in enhancing husbandry standards, focusing on enrichment, diets, and enclosures to maintain the wild behavior of captive pangolins. The challenge lies in preserving their wild instincts during the 30-day quarantine period, as many arrive with injuries or diseases.
Sander shares the joy of witnessing a released pangolin climb a tree, a poignant moment marking the success of their efforts. However, he also addresses the grim reality facing pangolins in Vietnam – rampant poaching for scales and meat, coupled with the rapid loss of their natural habitat. Despite these challenges, the captive team, under Sander’s guidance, remains actively engaged in comprehensive conservation efforts, including wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
Looking towards the future, Sander envisions a world where pangolin populations thrive in their natural habitats, accessible to global audiences through sustainable eco-tourism. His plea for individuals to join SVW’s mission emphasizes the importance of saying no to wildlife products and actively participating in efforts to preserve ecosystems.
In the collaborative efforts of Kelsey and Sander, SVW emerges as a formidable force against the threats faced by Vietnam’s wildlife. Their stories echo the broader narrative of individuals coming together to address the urgent challenges posed by habitat loss and wildlife exploitation. Through compassion, dedication, and a commitment to continuous improvement, Kelsey and Sander inspire us to join the cause and contribute to the preservation of our natural world.
Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, with its multifaceted approach encompassing veterinary care, husbandry standards, education, and advocacy, offers a beacon of hope in the relentless battle against the exploitation of wildlife and the loss of their habitats. As we heed the call to action echoed by Kelsey and Sander, we become active participants in the shared responsibility to protect and conserve the wildlife that graces our planet.