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18th February 2023 (8 Topics)

New MERS-Like Coronavirus Found in Pangolins Can Infect Human Cells

Context

Pangolin, is confronting the perils of massive poaching and illegal trafficking in India.

About Pangolin

  • Pangolin are also known as an ecosystem engineer for playing a role in land’s health.
  • World Pangolin Day is observed on February 18, 2023.
  • Pangolins are believed to be the only truly scaly mammals in the world. 
  • World Wildlife Fund records the animal to range from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered.
  • The species is listed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

The most trafficked animal

  • They are one of the most trafficked mammals in Asia and, increasingly, Africa.
  • Pangolins are in high demand in countries like China and Vietnam. 
  • Their meat is considered a delicacy and pangolin scales are used in traditional medicine and folk remedies. 
  • All eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws. But there is still growing international illegal trade in pangolins.

The numbers

  • According to TRAFFIC, 1,203 pangolins have been found in illegal wildlife trade in India from 2018 to 2022. 
  • Up to 24 States and one Union Territory saw seizures of pangolins and their derivatives.
    • Odisha reported the maximum number of incidents, with 154 pangolins in 74 seizures. 
    • It was followed by Maharashtra with 135 pangolins in 47 seizure incidents.
  • The publication, titled ‘India’s Pangolins Buried in Illegal Wildlife Trade’, has tracked 342 total incidents during this time period. 
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