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| Last Updated:: 17/02/2018

World Pangolin Day







Celebrated every year on the third Saturday in February, World Pangolin Day is an international event to raise global awareness about pangolins, the alarming threats they face, and the inspiring efforts to prevent them from going extinct. 



The word “pangolin” comes from the Malay word “penggulung,” which means “roller.” This is because when threatened, a pangolin will curl itself into a tight ball, which is impenetrable to predators but makes them easy prey for poachers.



There are eight pangolin species four in Asia and four in Africa. Two species are found in India—Indian Pangolins or Manis crassicaudata, and Chinese Pangolin or Manis pentadactyla. Indian Pangolins are found throughout the country south of the Himalayas excluding the northeast, and Chinese Pangolin is found in Assam and the eastern Himalayas. 



Pangolins are the only mammals that are covered in scales, which are made of keratin—just like our hair and finger nails. They are toothless, nocturnal, live in burrows and feed mainly on ants and termites. The can consume up to 20,000 ants per day. 



Pangolins are slow breeder, producing only 1 to 3 offspring every two years. This makes it difficult for the species to recover from poaching. Pangolins are extremely vulnerable to stress, making them very difficult to keep in captivity. Most die within six months of capture. 



Pangolins are the most trafficked wild animal in the world, with more than one million poached over the last decade. Research and analysis by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, found that between 2009-17 an equivalent of 5,772 pangolins had been seized. Between 2009-13, majority of the seizures were in the eastern region, while between 2014-17 the seizures were concentrated in central and southern region. Manipur and Tamil Nadu had highest number of seizures. 



In Asia, pangolin scales, blood, and foetuses are used to purportedly treat conditions like liver problems, skin issues, palsy, and swelling, despite the fact that they lack any medicinal or therapeutic value. Pangolins also are considered delicacies in some Asian countries, with their meat selling for up to $200 per kilogram. 



All eight species are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as either Endangered (extremely high risk of extinction), Endangered (very high risk of extinction), or Vulnerable (high risk of extinction). All eight are also listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which bans all commercial trade. 



Both species of pangolins found in India are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 therefore hunting, trade or any other form of utilisation of the species of their body parts and derivatives is banned.