Pangolins are fascinating creatures that belong to the family Manidae and are found in parts of Africa and Asia. These animals are unique in that they are covered in scales made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and nails. They are often referred to as scaly anteaters due to their long, sticky tongue used for capturing ants and termites, which make up the majority of their diet.
There are many stories and legends about pangolins in various cultures. In African folklore, pangolins are often associated with wisdom and healing. Some African tribes believe that pangolins have magical powers and can protect people from harm. In Asia, pangolins are seen as symbols of good luck and prosperity, and are often depicted in artwork and literature.
Pangolins, the only mammals in the world with scales, have become one of the most trafficked animals in the world due to their high demand in traditional medicine and as a delicacy in some cultures. Among the eight species of pangolins, the Chinese and Indian pangolins are two of the most widely distributed, but they are also the most threatened.
In this article, we delve into the unique characteristics of the Chinese and Indian pangolins and explore how their biology, behaviour, and conservation status differ from each other.
|1||Common Name||Chinese pangolin|
|2||Scientific Name||Manis pentadactyla|
|3||Length||1 metre in length|
|5||Height/girth ( For animals and birds – height, for fishes/reptiles – girth of the body)|
|6||Tail length ( if its mammal|
|7||Height till shoulder ( If its mammal)|
|8||Average weight||4 to 7 kg|
|9||Food habits||ants and termites|
|10||Habitat||They are mostly found in forested regions and grasslands, but they have also been spotted in agricultural areas.|
|11||Any interesting facts about them||Their primary means of defence is to curl up into a tight ball, exposing their tough scales to deter predators|
Chinese pangolins are unique mammals with distinctive physical characteristics. They have brownish-yellow scales covering their entire body, which provide excellent protection from predators. The scales of Chinese pangolins are softer and thinner than those of other pangolin species. The underside of their body is covered with bristly hair.
The males and females of Chinese pangolins look similar, with the only noticeable difference being their size. The males are larger than the females, measuring up to 1 meter in length and weighing around 5-7 kilograms. Meanwhile, females are slightly smaller, measuring around 80 centimetres in length and weighing around 4-6 kilograms.
One of the unique characteristics of Chinese pangolins is their long, slender tongue, which can extend up to 40 centimetres. This allows them to capture their prey, which mainly consists of ants and termites, without entering their nests. Chinese pangolins also have a strong sense of smell, which they use to detect their prey.
In terms of behaviour, Chinese pangolins are solitary animals and are mostly active at night. They are good climbers and swimmers, but their primary means of defence is to curl up into a tight ball, exposing their tough scales to deter predators.
Chinese pangolins are insectivores, and their primary diet consists of ants and termites. They use their long tongue to capture their prey, and they have powerful jaws that help them to crush the hard exoskeletons of their prey.
Chinese pangolins are found in several countries across Asia, including China, Taiwan, northern Myanmar, northern Laos, and Vietnam. They are mostly found in forested regions and grasslands, but they have also been spotted in agricultural areas.
In India, Chinese pangolins are primarily found in the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur. They inhabit forests and grasslands, and they are also known to live near human settlements.
Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is listed as a Critically endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Chinese pangolins are hunted for their scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, and for their meat, which is considered a delicacy. They are also threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation and agricultural expansion.
In addition to being hunted and losing their habitat, Chinese pangolins are also at risk of being killed as bycatch in traps set for other animals. They are slow-moving creatures and are easy targets for hunters, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction.
Conservation efforts are underway to protect Chinese pangolins, including laws to regulate hunting and trade, captive breeding programs, and habitat restoration initiatives. However, illegal hunting and trade remain major threats to the survival of this species.
The Chinese Pangolin is an endangered species and is protected under Indian law. To protect this species, India has designated certain areas as protected areas where hunting and poaching of Chinese Pangolins are prohibited.
Namdapha National Park is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and is known for its biodiversity and is home to many endangered species, including the Chinese Pangolin.
Pakke Tiger Reserve is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, and is also home to many endangered species, including the Chinese Pangolin.
Manas National Park in the state of Assam, is known for its biodiversity and is home to many endangered species, including the Chinese Pangolin.
Nagaland Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the state of Nagaland, is home to many endangered species, including the Chinese Pangolin.
Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the state of Nagaland. This wildlife sanctuary is also home to many endangered species, including the Chinese Pangolin.
In addition to these protected areas, the Indian government has also launched various initiatives to protect the Chinese Pangolin. For example, the Indian government has launched a project to conserve the Chinese Pangolin and its habitat in the state of Assam. The project includes measures to reduce habitat destruction, curb poaching and trade in pangolins, and raise awareness among local communities about the importance of conservation.
Conservation of the Species
The Chinese and Indian Pangolin, both classified as endangered species, are facing numerous threats in India, including poaching, habitat destruction, and the illegal wildlife trade. These species are often hunted for their scales, which are believed to have medicinal properties, and their meat, which is considered a delicacy.
In recent years, there have been efforts to conserve these species and protect their populations in India. The government of India has listed both the Chinese and Indian Pangolin under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, which provides them with the highest level of protection. Additionally, several conservation organisations have been working to raise awareness about the importance of protecting these species and to implement conservation measures.
One such organisation is the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), which has been working with local communities and law enforcement agencies to combat the illegal trade in pangolins. The WTI has established anti-poaching teams and has also set up rescue and rehabilitation centres for confiscated pangolins.
Another organisation, the Pangolin Conservation Working Group (PCWG), has been conducting research on pangolin populations in India and developing conservation strategies. The PCWG has also been working with local communities to raise awareness about the importance of pangolins and the threats they face.
The conservation efforts for these species have also received support from the Indian government, which has launched several initiatives to conserve endangered wildlife, including the Chinese and Indian Pangolin. For instance, the government has established protected areas for these species, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The government has also launched a program to provide financial assistance to local communities for conservation efforts
In conclusion, both the Indian pangolin and the Chinese pangolin are unique and fascinating animals that play important ecological roles in their respective habitats. However, they are facing severe threats due to poaching and habitat loss, and urgent conservation efforts are needed to ensure their survival. It is crucial that governments, conservation organizations, and individuals work together to protect these species and their habitats, and to raise awareness about the importance of conserving biodiversity for the well-being of our planet.As humans, it is our responsibility to protect the biodiversity of our planet and the species that inhabit it. Pangolins are a reminder that our actions have consequences, and we must take action to ensure that future generations can enjoy these amazing creatures.