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Pangolin UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • Researchers reveal illegal pangolin trafficking routes from origins in Africa to markets in Asia.

  • The approach offers new opportunities to monitor pangolin poaching in near real-time, allowing for targeted and more effective anti-trafficking measures. 

  • Pangolins are in high demand in Asia because their scales are believed, without scientific support, to have medicinal properties in traditional medicines, particularly in China

  • The white-bellied pangolin is the world’s most trafficked mammal.

  • The only mammal completely covered in overlapping scales, made of keratin, similar to your fingernails.

  • Nicknamed "scaly anteaters" due to their diet and resemblance to anteaters.

  • Size varies depending on species, ranging from 30 to 90 cm (1 to 3 ft) long and weighing 5 to 27 kg .

  • Colors vary from brown to grey to black, with some species having patterned scales.

  • Primarily insectivores, feeding on ants and termites using their long, sticky tongues, which can extend beyond their body length.

  • Lack teeth, but grind up food using strong stomach muscles.

  • Solitary and nocturnal animals, spending most of their time foraging for food.

  • Excellent climbers and diggers, thanks to their sharp claws.

  • Found in various habitats across Asia and Africa, including forests, grasslands, and savannas.

  • Some species are arboreal, living in trees, while others are terrestrial.

  • When threatened, they roll into a tight ball, similar to an armadillo, to protect their soft underside.

  • Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal due to demand for their meat and scales in traditional medicine.

  • This illegal trade has pushed many species to critically endangered status.

  • Conservation efforts focus on combating poaching, raising awareness, and establishing protected areas.

  • Pangolins give birth to one or two pups at a time, which ride around on their mother's back until weaned.

  • They have poor eyesight and rely on their sense of smell and touch to navigate their environment.


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