Pangolin

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  • Pangolin is only scaly mammal on the planet.
  • According to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is also the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia).
  • Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India. They are Chinese pangolin (manis pentadactyla), mostly found in northeast India and Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata).
  • Pangolins has large, overlapping scales on its body which act as armour.
  • It can also curl itself into ball as self-defence against predators.
  • The colour of its scales varies depending on colour of earth in its surroundings.
  • Pangolins is an insectivore, feeding on ants and termites, digging them out of mounds and logs using its long claws.
  • It is nocturnal and rests in deep burrows during the day.
  • Pangolins is smuggled for its scales as it believed that they possess magic or charms and have medicinal properties.
  • The scales serves as base component for indigenous (traditional) psychotropic substances.
  • China is main illicit hub (market) for smuggled scales of Pangolins, where they have huge demand for medicinal and magical purposes.

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  • Protection Status: 
    • Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered” by UN affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
    • Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) has been listed as “endangered” in IUCN Red List.
    • It is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).