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Indian Pangolin

Indian Pangolin:

A radio-tagged Indian pangolin was released into the wild in Nandankanan Zoological Park (Odisha) following soft release protocols and provision for post-release monitoring.

  • Radio-tagging involves attaching a transmitter to an animal to monitor its movements.
  • Several wild animals — tigers, leopards and migratory birds — have been tagged over decades.
  • Pangolins are scaly anteater mammals and they have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin.
  • They are the only known mammals with this feature.
  • It uses these scales as armour to defend itself against predators by rolling into a ball when threatened.
  • Insectivore- Pangolins are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly ants and termites, which they capture using their long tongues.
  • Out of the eight species of pangolin, the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) are found in India.
  • Indian Pangolin is a large anteater covered by 11-13 rows of scales on the back.
  • A terminal scale is also present on the lower side of the tail of the Indian Pangolin, which is absent in the Chinese Pangolin.
  • Indian Pangolin is widely distributed in India, except the arid region, high Himalayas and the North-East.
  • The species is also found in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Chinese Pangolin is found in the Himalayan foothills in Eastern Nepal, Bhutan, Northern India, North-East Bangladesh and through Southern China.
  • Threats to Pangolins in India:
    • Hunting and poaching for local consumptive use (e.g. as a protein source and traditional medicine) and international trade for its meat and scales in East and South East Asian countries, particularly China and Vietnam.
    • They are believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal.
  • Conservation Status:
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • IUCN Red List: Endangered
    • Chinese Pangolin is ‘critically endangered’
    • CITES: Appendix I