This is the moment a pack of hungry hyenas unsuccessfully attempted to penetrate a pangolin’s armor.
The video shows several hyenas biting and nudging the balled-up pangolin, with all their efforts in vain. They’re clearly puzzled by the pangolin!
Eventually the pangolin was able to escape the hyenas uninjured, disappearing into a very dense and impenetrable thicket.
The action was caught on camera by Matthew Poole at Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa.
The pangolin is an unusual, armadillo-like creature, and happens to be the most trafficked animal on the planet — even more than rhinos and elephants.
Conservationists estimate that since 2000, over 1 million pangolins have been poached and trafficked internationally.
The black market trade is particularly active in China, where the pangolin’s distinctive keratin scales are used for traditional medicine and its meat is considered a delicacy. But as Asia’s native populations have dwindled, traffickers are now turning their sights to the pangolins in Africa. Last year, officials seized more than 49 tons of illegally-trafficked pangolin scales, according to the African Pangolin Working Group.
Locally, in South Africa and other African countries, pangolins are also hunted for their meat and used in religious ceremonies.
Learn more about efforts to save the pangolin in the video below: