Feb 22, 2023
Today we will discuss Pangolins in our today's edition of Current Affairs. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.
For Prelims: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity
Pangolins, mammals, Indian pangolin, Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
For Mains: GS Paper III (Conservation)
What are Pangolins, Pangolin Species, Location of Pangolin, Significance of Pangolins, Pangolins Trade, Pangolin Trafficking in India.
Recently a new report showed that from 2018 to 2022, as many as 1,203 pangolins, the most trafficked wild mammal in the world, were poached for the illegal wildlife trade in India.
Pangolins play a vital role in ecosystem management, mostly in aerating and adding moisture to the soil as well as establishing plant communities through burrowing. Comment (150 words, 10 marks)
About Pangolins: Pangolins are nocturnal, toothless mammals that dig burrows and feed on ants and termites.
Pangolin Species: There are eight different pangolin species that can be found across Asia and Africa, namely:
News Source: Down to Earth
The main ways that pangolins contribute to ecosystem management are by aerating the soil, adding moisture, and establishing plant communities through burrowing. Additionally, pangolins control the population of some insects that they prey on. Other species living in the pangolins' ecosystem use the burrows they dig as shelter. Over 30 species have been reported to use the burrows made by Chinese pangolins, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates, for different purposes.
Pangolins are traded due to their demand throughout the world, primarily in Asia and Africa, where their scales are thought to have medicinal properties and their meat to be delectable. Additionally, there is a market for pangolin products in the US, particularly for the leather that can be used for boots, bags, and belts.
Pangolins lack teeth and rely on a stomach organ that resembles a gizzard and is designed to grind food. Pangolins defend themselves by using their scales as weapons. If anything is inserted between the pangolin's scales when it feels threatened, it will give an unfamiliar paw or snout a nasty shock!
The two species found in India are the Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). With the exception of the North-East, high Himalayas, and arid regions, Indian pangolins are found throughout most of India. It is located at elevations of up to 2500 meters. Additionally, the species can be found in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.
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