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| Last Updated: 24/05/2019

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World Pangolin Day 2019

 AN APPEAL FROM THE DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENT IN VIEW OF THE WORLD PANGOLIN DAY

 


The Eighth Annual World Pangolin Day is celebrated on 16th February 2019. World Pangolin Day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals - and their plight. Pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.
The demand for pangolins comes mostly from China, where pangolin scales are unfortunately believed to be a cure-all of sorts and pangolin flesh is considered a delicacy. In Vietnam, pangolins are frequently offered at restaurants catering to wealthy patrons who want to eat rare and endangered wildlife. Pangolins are considered one of the worlds’s most heavily trafficked mammals.


The Indian pangolin, thick-tailed pangolin, or scaly anteater (Manis crassicaudata) is a pangolin found on the Indian subcontinent. Like other pangolins, it has large, overlapping scales on its body which act as armour. It can also curl itself into a ball as self-defence against predators such as the tiger. The colour of its scales varies depending on the colour of the earth in its surroundings. It is an insectivore, feeding on ants and termites, digging them out of mounds and logs using its long claws, which are as long as it’s fore limbs. It is nocturnal and rests in deep burrows during the day.


The Indian pangolin has been recorded from various forest types, including Sri Lankan rainforest and plains to middle hill levels. The animal can be found in grasslands and secondary forests, and is well adapted to desert regions as it is believed to have a tolerance to dry areas, but prefers more barren, hilly regions. It is distributed throughout India, Pakistan, and South Asia, occurring in Sialkot, Jehlum, Gujrat, districts northwest of Punjab, Kohat, Attock, Khyber, Sindh, and Baluchistan. This pangolin species may also sometimes reach high elevations, and has been sighted in Sri Lanka at 1100 meters and in the Nilgiri mountains in India at 2300 meters. It prefers soft and semi-sandy soil conditions suitable for digging burrows.
Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).They have been driven to the edge of extinction in Asia, with the Chinese pangolin listed as “Critically Endangered” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, while its Indian counterpart is categorized as “Endangered” in the list. Hunting and trade in both the pangolin species found in India is banned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, while international trade is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES. The Indian Pangolin is found throughout the country south of the Himalayas, excluding the north-eastern region.