World Pangolin Day

World Pangolin Day

News Analysis   /   World Pangolin Day

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Published on: February 18, 2023

Source: The Times of India

Context:  On the eve of World Pangolin Day observed on February 18, a not-for-profit organisation working on the international trade of animals and plants, has brought out a fact sheet reporting that 1,203 pangolins have been found in illegal wildlife trade in India from 2018 to 2022.


  • India reports a significant number of pangolin trafficking incidents reflected by seizures across the country
  • They are poached mainly for international markets in China and Southeast Asia for their scales, which are used as an ingredient in traditional medicines.
  • India is home to two species: the Indian Pangolin, found across the subcontinent; and the Chinese Pangolin, found across a larger area in south Asia. Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam see the presence of both.
  • Both species are included under India’s Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act that could result in a jail term for those hunting animals listed here.
  • An analysis of illegal pangolin trade in India by TRAFFIC in 2018 reported poaching of 6,000 pangolins between 2009 and 2017.

About Pangolins:

  1. Pangolins, despite being listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972continue to be the world’s most trafficked mammal.
  2. The Indian pangolin is the largest among eight pangolin species.
  3. The nocturnal animal lives in burrows and feed on ants and termites.
  4. It practices Volvation, a defensive behavior in certain animals, in which the animal rolls its own body into a ball, presenting only the hardest parts of its integument, or its spines to predators.

Pangolins in India:

Both Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) are found in India.


Indian Pangolin:

Widely distributed in India, except the arid region, high Himalayas and the North-East.

The species is also found in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Chinese Pangolin:

Found in the Himalayan foothills in Eastern Nepal, Bhutan, Northern India, North-East Bangladesh and through Southern China.

Threats to Pangolins in India:

Hunting and poachingfor use as a protein source and traditional medicine and international trade for its meat and scales in East and South East Asian countries, particularly China and Vietnam.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List

Indian Pangolin: Endangered

Chinese Pangolin: Critically Endangered

Both these species are listed under Schedule I, Part I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972


  • TRAFFIC is an organization that was established in 1976 by WWF and IUCN as a wildlife trade monitoring network to undertake data collection, analysis, and provision of recommendations to inform decision making on wildlife trade.
  • For over 40 years TRAFFIC performed that function as a leader in wildlife trade research, as a joint program of WWF and IUCN.
  • TRAFFIC became an independent non-profit organization in 2017, with WWF and IUCN sitting on its Board of Directors along with independent Board members.
  • TRAFFIC is renowned globally for its expertise and influence in the wildlife trade and conservation arena, as a provider of objective and reliable information.
  • Its expert staff implement innovative projects and create new tools to deliver the mission of protecting nature and supporting sustainable development, by resolving wildlife trade challenges.
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