Why in news? A not-for-profit organisation working on the international trade of animals and plants, has brought out a fact sheet reporting that 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 derivate.
- Odisha reported the maximum number of incidents, followed by Maharashtra.
- India reports a significant number of pangolin trafficking incidents reflected by seizures across the country.
- They are poached mainly for international markets in China and southeast Asia for their scales, which are used as an ingredient in traditional medicines.
- India is home to two species: the Indian Pangolin, found across the subcontinent; and the Chinese Pangolin, found across a larger area in south Asia. Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam see the presence of both.
- Both species are included under India’s Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act that could result in a jail term for those hunting animals listed here.
- Indian pangolin, also called thick-tailed pangolin and scaly anteater is a pangolin native to the Indian subcontinent.
- It can also curl itself into a ball as self-defence against predators
- Indian Pangolin is an insectivore feeding on ants, termites and nocturnal
- It is listed on CITES Appendix I and is protected in all range countries.
- IUCN status is Endangered
- Distribution has been recorded in various forest types, including Sri Lankan rainforest, plains to middle hill level, grasslands, adapted to dry areas and desert regions, but prefers more barren, hilly regions.
- It is a pangolin native to the northern Indian subcontinent, northern parts of Southeast Asia and southern China.
- It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List
- Chinese pangolin is native to southern Nepal, northeastern India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, northern Indochina, southern China including the island of Hainan, and most of Taiwan.