On the World Pangolin Day, a not-for-profit organization working on the international trade of animals and plants brought out a fact sheet reporting that 1,203 pangolins have been found in illegal wildlife trade in India from 2018 to 2022.
There are a total of eight pangolin species across Africa and Asia.
There is also demand in the US for pangolin products particularly for their leather to be used in boots, bags and belts.
- They have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin, and they are the only known mammals with this feature.
- They roll into a ball when threatened which can make them easy pickings for poachers.
- They are primarily nocturnal.Their diet consists of mainly ants and termites which they capture using their long tongues.
- Pangolins have no teeth; they chew with gravel and keratinous spines inside the stomach.
- IUCN: The Indian Pangolin has been classified as ‘Endangered’ and the Chinese along with Sunda and Philippine Pangolin as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
- Wildlife Protection Act: Both species are included under India’s Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- CITES: They are also in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), meaning they are most endangered
Pangolins in India
- India is home to two species:
- the Indian Pangolin, found across the subcontinent; and
- the Chinese Pangolin, found across a larger area in south Asia. Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam see the presence of both.