Key Facts about Indian Pangolin

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The pangolin conservation project launched to protect pangolins has succeeded at Pench Tiger Reserve and Satpura Tiger Reserve, as the mammals have started to breed there.

What are Pangolins?

  • Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are the only known mammals with large keratin scales covering their skin. 
  • Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). 

About Indian Pangolin

  • The Indian pangolin, also called the thick-tailed pangolin, is native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • They are one of the most trafficked mammals in the world, despite an international ban on their trade.
  • Distribution: It lives in India (south of the Himalayas), Bangladesh, Southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, and small parts of Pakistan.
  • Habitat:
    • They are well adapted to desert regions and prefer barren, hilly areas. Their habitat extends up to 2,500 feet above sea level.
    • Overall, they prefer soil that is soft and semi-sandy, suitable for digging burrows.
    • They have also been shown to survive in various types of tropical forests, open land, grasslands, and in close proximity to villages.
  • Features:
    • Like other pangolins, it has large, overlapping scales on its body, which act as armor.
    • The Indian pangolin’s armor is among the most effective in the mammalian world. It has about 13 rows of moveable, sharp scales covering its body, which are shed periodically.
    • The colour of its scales varies depending on the colour of the earth in its surroundings. 
    • It can also curl itself into a ball as self-defense against predators.
    • It is an insectivore, feeding on ants and termites.
    • It is nocturnal and it rests in deep burrows during the day.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Endangered 
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix I

Q1) What is keratin?

Keratin is a protein that helps form hair, nails and your skin’s outer layer (epidermis). It helps support your skin, heal wounds and keep your nails and hair healthy.

Source: MP Wildlife: Pangolin Conservation Project Succeeds In State