Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has taken special initiative to conserve the Indian pangolin which is included in the highly endangered species. The MP Forest Department and the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) have embarked on a joint project to understand and effectively conserve the ecology of the Indian pangolin.
In this project, radio-tagging of some pangolins is being done to study their activities, accommodation, routines etc. Two Indian pangolins have been successfully rehabilitated in the jungle.
Endangered pangolins are being monitored continuously through telemetry with the help of radio tagging. This experiment will help in conservation of pangolins and increase their population. The number of pangolins has decreased by 50 to 80 percent worldwide.
STSF unearths hunting and trafficking: Madhya Pradesh has always been identified for unique and new efforts in wildlife management. STSF, a specialized unit formed in the state for wildlife protection, has made effective efforts to control poaching and trade of all wildlife especially pangolin. STSF has successfully exposed gangs involved in the hunting and trafficking of pangolins in more than 11 states in the last few years.
About Pangolins: Pangolins are scaly from tip to tail and can curl into a ball. These solitary, primarily nocturnal animals, are easily recognized by their full armor of scales.
Also called scaly anteaters because of their preferred diet, pangolins are increasingly victims of illegal wildlife crime—mainly in Asia and in growing amounts in Africa—for their meat and scales.
2 pangolin species found in India: Eight species of pangolins are found on two continents. They range from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. Four species live in Africa and four in Asia. Indian pangolin and Chinese pangolin are found in India.
Of the two species found in India, the Indian pangolin is found sporadically throughout the Himalayan foothills, the northern plains and southern India. The Chinese pangolin (Manispentadactyla) is found mostly in the northeastern states of India and parts of Southeast Asia.
World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of February. This international effort raises awareness about pangolin species and mobilizes various stakeholders to speed up conservation efforts.