From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Pangolin
Mains level : Not Much
The Odisha Forest and Environment Department has completed its first-ever radio-tagging of the Indian pangolin in an attempt to standardize the rehabilitation protocol for the animal in the State.
- The radio-tagging aims to know its ecology and develop an effective conservation plan for it.
- The radio-tagging is part of a joint project by the department and non-profit, the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) that also involves the species’ monitoring apart from other activities.
IUCN status: Endangered
- India is home to two species of pangolin.
- While the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is found in northeastern India, the Indian Pangolin is distributed in other parts of the country as well as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- Both these species are protected and are listed under Schedule I Part I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
- Commonly known as ‘scaly anteaters’, the toothless animals are unique, a result of millions of years of evolution.
- Pangolins evolved scales as a means of protection. When threatened by big carnivores like lions or tigers they usually curl into a ball.
- The scales defend them against dental attacks from predators.
Pangolin in China
- Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in China and Vietnam.
- Their scales which are made of keratin, the same protein present in human nails — are believed to improve lactation, promote blood circulation, and remove blood stasis.
- These so-called health benefits are so far unproven.
What makes pangolins the most trafficked animals in the world?
- Their alleged health benefits in traditional Chinese medicines prompted a booming illicit export of scales from Africa over the past decade.
- Officials quote the trafficking price of Pangolin and its scale anywhere between Rs 30,000 and Rs 1 crore for a single animal.
- Conservation of pangolins received its first shot in the arm when the 2017 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) enforced an international trade ban.