Enhancing Conservation Through Veterinary Care of the White-Bellied Tree Pangolin (Manis tricuspis)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2017
Copper Aitken-Palmer1, DVM, PhD, DACZM; Ginger L. Sturgeon2, DVM; Jonathan Bergmann3, DVM; Felicia Knightly4, DVM; James G. Johnson III5, DVM; Marina Ivančić1, DVM, DACVR; Thomas W. deMaar6, DVM; Deborah A. Carboni6, MS, DVM; Michael Adkesson1, DVM, DACZM
1Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield, IL, USA; 2Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 3Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange, NJ, USA; 4Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN, USA; 5Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell, OH, USA; 6Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX, USA
Pangolins are the most globally trafficked mammal. The IUCN states the white-bellied or African tree pangolin (Manis tricuspis, also known as Phataginus tricuspis) is subject to widespread and intensive exploitation for meat and scales within Africa. Recent listing of all pangolin species on CITES Appendix I highlights the need for improved understanding of this poorly studied species. Information is lacking on basic husbandry, reproductive physiology, and veterinary care of this species. A population of 32 individuals was transitioned over the past year from native habitat to professional managed care at six American facilities to establish a sustainable breeding population. Care of these animals has allowed for the development of reference intervals for hematology, serum biochemistry, trace elements, and urinalysis. Parasitism, gastrointestinal disease, and nutritional challenges were significant life-threatening conditions in this population. A novel diet has been well accepted, but animals are prone to anorexia and hyporexia-associated enteritis and gastric ulceration. Nutritional support using tube feeding of commercially available formula was successful for nutritional stabilization. Ten females were pregnant at arrival. Pregnancy was monitored (n=7) through ultrasound and radiographic imaging. Five individuals successfully gave birth to healthy offspring. Two pregnancies ended with stillbirth. One dam died during pregnancy. Dystocia in two animals was treated by caesarian section. Clostridium perfringens (n=1) and inanition (n=1) were associated with acute death in two offspring during weaning. One offspring is still nursing, and three are currently weaning. All four offspring are doing well.