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Indian Pangolin

  • 31 Dec 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently a radio-tagged Indian pangolin was released into the wild in Nandankanan Zoological Park (Odisha) following soft release protocols and provision for post-release monitoring.

  • Radio-tagging involves attaching a transmitter to an animal to monitor its movements. Several wild animals — tigers, leopards and migratory birds — have been tagged over decades.

Key Points

  • About: 
    • Pangolins are scaly anteater mammals and they have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin. They are the only known mammals with this feature.
    • It uses these scales as armour to defend itself against predators by rolling into a ball when threatened.
  • Diet:
    • Insectivore- Pangolins are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly ants and termites, which they capture using their long tongues.
  • Types:
    • Out of the eight species of pangolin, the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) are found in India.
    • Difference:
      • Indian Pangolin is a large anteater covered by 11-13 rows of scales on the back.
      • A terminal scale is also present on the lower side of the tail of the Indian Pangolin, which is absent in the Chinese Pangolin.
  • Habitat:
    • Indian Pangolin:
      • It is widely distributed in India, except the arid region, high Himalayas and the North-East.
      • The species is also found in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
    • Chinese Pangolin:
      • It is found in the Himalayan foothills in Eastern Nepal, Bhutan, Northern India, North-East Bangladesh and through Southern China.
  • Threats to Pangolins in India:
    • Hunting and poaching for local consumptive use (e.g. as a protein source and traditional medicine) and international trade for its meat and scales in East and South East Asian countries, particularly China and Vietnam.
    • They are believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal.
  • Conservation Status:

Nandankanan Zoological Park

  • It is 15 kms from Odisha's capital, Bhubaneswar. It was inaugurated in 1960.
  • First zoo in the country to become a member of the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums (WAZA).
    • WAZA is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.
  • It is recognized as a leading zoo for the breeding of the Indian pangolin and white tiger.
    • Leopards, mouse deer, lions, rats and vultures are also bred here.
  • It was the world’s first captive crocodile breeding centre, where gharials were bred in captivity in 1980.
  • The State Botanical Garden of Nandankanan is one of the pioneering plant conservation and nature education centres of Odisha.

Source: TH

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