Skip to content

Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary in Liberia Offers Refuge to Orphaned Baby Pangolins

These small, scaly creatures are believed to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. Pangolins are found across Africa and Asia, but all eight species are at risk of extinction, killed for their meat and for use in traditional medicine. In Liberia, they are commonly known as “ants bears” owing to their very particular diet of ants and termites, and this sanctuary is a haven for them. Deh Jr joined the sanctuary when it opened five years ago and says in that time he has cared for over 70 pangolins, most of which were brought here by the Liberian Forestry Development Authority after being confiscated, surrendered or orphaned as a result of the bushmeat trade. Liberia is the most forested country in West Africa — with over two-thirds of its landmass comprising forest. Rich in fauna and flora, these forests form part of the “Guinean Forests of West Africa” biodiversity hotspot, which, according to a 2018 USAID report, contains a quarter of all mammal species found on the continent, including 30 species of primates and three of the world’s eight pangolin species.