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World Pangolin Day 2022

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    24th Feb, 2022

Context

World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the “Third Saturday of February” every year.

  • It marks the 11th edition of the event.

History

  • Each year, World Pangolin Day is observed annually to raise awareness and recommit international organisations to the fight against the global harvesting of pangolins. 
    • The only truly scaly mammals in the world.
  • The day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts and the wider human community to join hands in raising awareness about the plight of these unique mammals — pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.
  • Pangolins are a highly prized commodity, often illegally trapped, trafficked, and killed for its scale by organised crime networks on a large scale to serve the need of the traditional medicine market in Asia where pangolin scales are unfortunately believed to be a cure-all of sorts and pangolin flesh is considered a delicacy.
    • In Vietnam and Central and the southern parts of West Africa, pangolins are often offered at restaurants catering to wealthy clients who consider their meat rare and a statement of status.
      • Pangolin numbers are rapidly decreasing in Asia and Africa and is one of the most heavily trafficked mammals in the illegal wildlife trade.
  • From 2016 to 2019, an estimated 206.4 tonnes of pangolin scales or an equivalent of about 360,000 pangolins were intercepted and confiscated from 52 seizures according to a report by the Wildlife Justice Commission.
    • Wildlife Justice Commission is an international foundation set up in the Netherlands with the mission to disrupt and help dismantle organised transnational criminal wildlife trading networks.

About Pangolin

  • Pangolins are the only mammal to be covered in scales.
  • To protect themselves, they curl into balls like hedgehogs.
    • When frightened, a pangolin will curl up into a tight ball to protect its tender underside, making it a prime target for illegal poachers.
  • Their name comes from the Malay word ‘pengguling’ meaning ‘something that rolls up’.
  • They are the most smuggled mammal in the world because people want their meat and scales.
  • A pangolin’s tongue can be longer than its body when fully extended and can be 40 cm long.

About Indian Pangolin

  • Indian Pangolins have thick scaly skin.
  • Indian Pangolins Hunted for meat and used in traditional Chinese medicine.  
  • Pangolins are among the most trafficked wildlife species in the world.  
  • Indian pangolin is the largest among eight pangolin species. 
  • Out of the eight species of pangolin, the Indian and the Chinese pangolins are found in India.  
  • Both these species are listed under Schedule I Part I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. 
  • The nocturnal animal lives in burrows and feeds on ants and termites.

IUCN Red List 

  • Indian Pangolin: Endangered 
  • Chinese Pangolin: Critically Endangered
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