Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Indian Pangolin


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Indian Pangolins

Mains level: Wildlife trade and its prevention


The Madhya Pradesh forest department has radio-tagged an Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) for the first time.


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 the 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 the predators.

Why this radio-tagging?

  • 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.

Why protect Pangolins?

  • Pangolins are currently the most trafficked wildlife species in the world.
  • These Scales has now become the main cause of the pangolin’s disappearance.
  • The scales are in high demand in China, where they are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Pangolin meat is also in high demand in China and Southeast Asia.
  • Consequently, pangolins have seen a rapid reduction in population globally. The projected population declines range from 50 per cent to 80 per cent across the genus.

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