Pangolin scales and flesh are used as ingredients for various traditional Chinese medicine preparations. While no scientific evidence exists for the efficacy of those practices, and they have no logical mechanism of action ,      their popularity still drives the black market for animal body parts, despite concerns about toxicity, transmission of diseases from animals to humans, and species extermination.
The giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) is the largest species in the family of pangolins or scaly anteaters. Members of the species inhabit Africa with a range stretching along the equator from West Africa to Uganda. It subsists almost entirely on ants and termites. The species was first described by Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger in 1815.
- Distribution and habitat
- Behaviour and ecology
The Chinese pangolin 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 since 2014, as the wild population is estimated to have declined by more than 80% in three pangolin generations, equal to 21 years. It is threatened by poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
The Chinese pangolin has the appearance of a scaly anteater. Its head and body measure about 40–58 cm and its tail measures about 25–38 cm. A mature Chinese pangolin weighs from 2 to 7 kilograms. It has 18 rows of overlapping scales accompanied by hair, a rare combination in mammals. It has a small, narrow mouth and a little, pointed head. Also its claws grow in as it grows older. The female gives birth to a single offspring at a time. A newborn pangolin weighs about 93 g, its length is ...
Manis pentadactyla was the scientific name proposed by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 for the Chinese pangolin. In the 19th century and 20th centuries, several Chinese pangolin specimens were collected and described: 1. Manis pentadactyla auritus by Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1836 2. Manis pentadactyla pusilla by Joel Asaph Allen in 1906
The 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. It has been recorded up to an elevation of 3,000 m.
The Chinese pangolin is a rather secretive, nocturnal animal. It moves slowly. Its hard scales work as a protective cover from predators, and when it feels threatened, it curls into a ball.
The Chinese pangolin is threatened foremost by poaching. Some Chinese people eat its meat, and its scales are used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. In the 1960s, about 170,000 to 180,000 Chinese pangolins were seized annually across the Chinese provinces Fujian, Hunan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunan and Guangdong. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 2002 prohibited selling pangolins across national borders. Although China has already passed laws to protect th
- Physical description
- Range and distribution
- Behavior and social organization
- Reproduction and lifecycle
The ground pangolin, also known as Temminck's pangolin, Cape pangolin or steppe pangolin, is one of four species of pangolins which can be found in Africa, and the only one in southern and eastern Africa. The animal was named for the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck. As a group, pangolins are among the most critically endangered animals in the world.
Pangolins are almost completely covered in overlapping, protective scales, which makes up about 20% of their body weight. The scales are composed of keratin, the same material that forms human hair and fingernails, and give pangolins an appearance similar to a pinecone or artichoke. The underside of a pangolin is not covered with scales, but sparse fur, instead. When threatened, it usually rolls up into a ball, thus protecting its vulnerable belly. Pangolins are 30 to 90 cm long exclusive of the
The African pangolin species are native to 15 African countries dispersed throughout southern, central, and east Africa. S. temminckii is the only species found in southern and eastern Africa. It prefers savannah woodland with moderate amounts of scrub at low elevations.
Little is known about the pangolin, as it is difficult to study in the wild. Pangolins are solitary animals and only interact for mating. They dig and live in deep burrows made of semispherical chambers. These burrows are large enough for humans to crawl into and stand up. Although it is capable of digging its own burrow, the ground pangolin prefers to occupy those abandoned by warthogs or aardvarks or to lie in dense vegetation, making it even more difficult to observe. African pangolins such a
The ground pangolin is wholly myrmecophagous, meaning that they only feed on ants and termites. In fact, they demonstrate prey selectivity, only eating specific ant and termite species rather than foraging on the most abundant species. They have been observed exposing entire subterranean nests of a certain species of termites without eating any, preferring to find their species of choice. Their determination of suitable prey does not seem to be based on the size of the species alone, but likely
The lifespan of the pangolin is unknown, but the observed lifespan in captivity is 20 years. They are sexually dimorphic, with the males being 10–50% heavier than females. No defined mating season is known, but pangolins tend to mate during the summer and autumn. The gestation period ranges up to 139 days for ground pangolins and other African species. African species females usually birth only one offspring, but litters of three have been observed in Asian species. When born, a pangolin ...
- Conservation and enforcement
The pangolin trade is the illegal poaching, trafficking, and sale of pangolins, parts of pangolins, or pangolin-derived products on the black market. Pangolins are believed to be the world's most trafficked mammal, accounting for as much as 20% of all illegal wildlife trade. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than a million pangolins were poached in the decade prior to 2014. The animals are trafficked mainly for their scales, which are believed to treat a varie
Pangolins are mammals of the order Pholidota, of which there is one extant family, Manidae, with three genera: Manis includes four species in Asia, and Phataginus and Smutsia each comprise two species in Africa. They are the only mammal known to have a layer of large, protective keratin scales covering their skin. Though sometimes known by the common name "scaly anteater," and formerly considered to be in the same order as anteaters, they are taxonomically distant, grouped with Carnivora under t
The pangolin trade is centuries old. An early known example is in 1820, when Francis Rawdon, first Marquis of Hastinges and East India Company Governor General in Bengal, presented King George III with a coat made with the scales of Manis crassicaudata. The gifts are owned by The Royal Collections Trust but are on loan to and displayed in the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Additionally, the ‘Splendours of the Subcontinent’ exhibit in the Royal Collections Trust is home to a coat and a helmet ...
The black market pangolin trade is primarily active in Asia, particularly in China where the population can be considered as vermin. Demand is particularly high for their scales, but whole animals are also sold either living or dead for the production of other products with purported medicinal properties or for consumption as exotic food.
Humans hunt, trade, and traffic pangolins in Africa for spiritual purposes, traditional medicine, and consumption as bushmeat. In some areas, poaching of pangolins is protected by either laws or cultural or spiritual taboos. For example, chiefs within the Hurungwe District of Zimbabwe prohibit the killing or trade of Pangolins.
Governments and non-governmental organizations have undertaken a variety of conservation efforts, with varying activities and degrees of success in different parts of the world. The IUCN's Species Survival Commission formed a Pangolin Specialist Group in 2012, comprising 100 experts from 25 countries, hosted by the Zoological Society of London. It also coordinated an annual awareness day, World Pangolin Day, on February 15, starting in 2014. Public awareness and support for conservation efforts
- Distribution and habitat
- Behaviour and ecology
The Indian pangolin, also called thick-tailed pangolin and scaly anteater is a pangolin native to the Indian subcontinent. Like other pangolins, it has large, overlapping scales on its body which act as armour. It can also curl itself into a ball as self-defence against predators such as the tiger. The colour of its scales varies depending on the colour of the earth in its surroundings. It is an insectivore, feeding on ants and termites, digging them out of mounds and logs using its long claws,
The Indian pangolin is a solitary, shy, slow-moving, nocturnal mammal. It is about 84–122 cm long from head to tail, the tail usually being 33–47 cm long, and weighs 10–16 kg. Females are generally smaller than the males and have one pair of mammae. The pangolin possesses a cone-shaped head with small, dark eyes, and a long muzzle with a nose pad similar in color, or darker than, its pinkish-brown skin. It has powerful limbs, tipped with sharp, clawed digits. The pangolin has no teeth ...
The Indian pangolin has been recorded in various forest types, including Sri Lankan rainforest and plains to middle hill levels. It inhabits grasslands and secondary forests, and is well adapted to dry areas and desert regions, but prefers more barren, hilly regions. In Sri Lanka, it was sighted at an elevation of 1,100 m, and in the Nilgiri mountains at 2,300 m. It prefers soft and semi-sandy soil conditions suitable for digging burrows. Pangolin burrows fall into one of two categories: feeding
The Indian pangolin is nocturnal and mostly active intermittently between 17:00 and 05:00 hr. The peak period of activity was observed between 20:00–21:00 hr in captive individuals with some one individual variation. Unlike its African counterpart, the Indian pangolin does not climb trees, but it does value the presence of trees, herbs, and shrubs in its habitat because it is easier to dig burrows around them. Features that promote an abundance of ants and termites are often present in ...
Pangolin meat Habitat loss, e.g. through deforestation Bag of pangolin scales intended for sale Pangolin scale worn as a charm bracelet Pangolin scale and claw worn as talisman Decorative armour made of pangolin scales The Indian pangolin is threatened by poaching for its meat and scales, which are used and consumed by local people, but are also increasingly traded internationally. Various parts of the pangolin are valued as sources of food and medicine. The scales are used as an aphrodisiac, or
The Indian pangolin is listed on CITES Appendix I since January 2017 and is protected in all range countries.