February 15: World Pangolin Day; GoI radio tagged Pangolins first time to learn their Ecology

Every year the third Saturday of February month is celebrated as World Pangolin Day. The ninth World Pangolin Day is being celebrated on February 15, 2020. The numbers of Pangolin is rapidly declining in Asia and Africa. This is mainly because Pangolin scales are rich in medicinal properties. Recently, China had found that Pangolin scales can be used to treat Corona Virus infections.

As Pangolins numbers are declining greatly, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has radio-tagged Indian Pangolins for the first time to learn their ecology.

Highlights

The World Pangolin Day is marked by several organizations all over the world including United Nations Environment Programme.

Significance

They are hunted for their medicinal benefits and culinary delicacy. In December 2019, Xinhua news agency (China) reported the seizure of more than 10 tonnes of Pangolin scales by the Chinese customs in the eastern Chinese city Wenzhou. This on one hand proves that there is still quite good population of Pangolins in the world and on the other hand provides the message that they are still endangered.

Scales of Pangolins

The pangolins use their scales to protect themselves from big carnivores such as tigers and lions. They curl into a ball when they are being attacked. These scales are now in huge demand in China as they are used in traditional medicines.

Protection

Pangolins are protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). In India they are protected under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. They are listed under Schedule I of the act. The IUCN Red List puts the Indian Pangolin under Endangered category.

India’s Measures

For the first time, the Madhya Pradesh Forest department radio-tagged Indian Pangolin in order to learn its ecology. It is a joint operation of the forest department and the NGO Wildlife Conservation Trust.

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