To protect nature, we must know it. This World Pangolin Day is an incredible opportunity to learn about Pangolins – a little known species that is the most poached mammal globally!

Here are some amazing facts about them that you may not have known:

  1. Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are the only known mammals with large keratin scales covering their skin. They are also toothless and nocturnal! When threatened, they curl up into a tight ball.

  2. Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla. The Indian Pangolin is found throughout the country south of the Himalayas, excluding the north-eastern region while the Chinese Pangolin ranges through Assam and the eastern Himalayas. However, the current population of these mammals in India is unknown as no systematic studies have been done so far. Both Indian Pangolin and Chinese Pangolin are listed in Schedule I of the Act, therefore hunting, trade or any other form of utilisation of the species or their body parts and derivatives is banned

  3. Adding to their endangered IUCN status is the fact that they are slow breeders and produce only 1-3 offspring in a year!
  4. Female pangolins keep their young in burrows until they are old enough to ride on their mother's tail.
  5. Pangolins can consume up to 20,000 ants per day. That's about 70 million ants per year

Last year, TRAFFIC India released a study that revealed that nearly 6,000 pangolins have been poached between 2009 and 2017! TRAFFIC also affirmed that this is likely to be an underestimate as only a small fraction of illegal wildlife trade is detected.

Photo credits: Dr Sandeep Kumar, TRAFFIC

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