Wilfred the pangolin
This slightly odd looking mammal is ‘Wlifred’ the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) from the scrub forests of Malaysia. Also known as scaly anteaters or trenggilings, they use their sharp front claws to break into termite mounds and ant nests and their long slender tongues to feed on the inhabitants.
In 1953, during the Malayan Campaign, Major John Salmon MC joined his SAS regiment in Kuala Lumpa and was parachuted in to the deep jungle to live and work with an aboriginal tribe. A chief of the tribe gave him, as a present, a live pangolin which later became known as Wilfred. Sadly he was unable to give Wilfred the right food and the pangolin died. However, it was possible to have him stuffed and he returned to England with the family. The family acquired a number of pets during their time in Malaysia including a slow loris which is believed to have been donated to London Zoo.
There are only 8 living species of pangolin; the four Asian species can be easily distinguished from the four African pangolins because they have bristles which extend beyond the edge of their scales. It is in part due to these scales, which are made of keratin (the same material as human fingernails) that has led to the pangolin becoming endangered. They are killed for food and the use of their skin and scales in traditional medicine and fashion, but the pangolin has been a protected species in Malaysia since 1972