The pangolin: can the protection upgrade by China curb its trafficking?

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News: China has accorded the pangolin the highest level of protection and removed the scales of the Pangolin from its list of approved traditional medicines.

Facts:

  • Pangolin: They are scaly anteater mammals of the order Pholidota.They have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin and they are the only known mammals with this feature.
  • Habitat: Out of the eight species of pangolin, the Indian Pangolin and the Chinese Pangolin are found in India:
    • Indian Pangolin: It is 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: It is found in Himalayan foothills in Eastern Nepal, Bhutan, Northern India, North-East Bangladesh, through Southern China and Taiwan.
  • IUCN Conservation Status:
    • Indian pangolin – Endangered
    • Chinese pangolin – Critically Endangered
  • Threats: a) Hunted for its meat across the northeastern States and in central India.and b) Smuggled for scales especially in China as it is believed that scales possess magic or charms and have medicinal properties.