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Save the Pangolin to Save the Earth!

Feb. 21, 2021, 4:27 p.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 607 views)

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Pangolins arethe only mammal, wholly-covered in scales, which they use to protect themselves from predators in the wild. If under threat, a pangolin will immediately curl into a tight ball and will use their sharp-scaled tails to defend themselves.

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Pangolins eat ants, termites, and larvae and are often known as "the scaly anteater." Because theyhave no teeth, pangolins pick up food with their sticky tongue. Pangolins are illegallyhunted and traded for two main reasons. First, their meatis considered a delicacy in several south-east Asian countries, especially China and Vietnam. Also, theirscales are used in Chinese traditional medicine.As a result, they are the world’s most trafficked mammals. There are eight species of pangolins, with four in Asia, which have been classified as endangered and four African species, which have been termed "vulnerable".

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Pangolins have an extremely important ecological role in regulating insect populations. One single pangolin can consume around 70 million ants and termites per year. They havebeen referred to as "guardian of the forest". If pangolins go extinct, there would be a cascading impact on theenvironment resulting in an unbalanced ecosystem that would be disastrous for mankind.

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The Covid19 crisis had been linked to pangolins initially & despite inconclusive evidence, the Chinese government had taken steps to halt the wildlife trade of pangolins.

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In recenttimes, Orissa has also taken active steps to stop the trafficking of these innocent creatures.A smuggling racket has been busted in Athagarhforest division& live pangolins rescued by the DFO Athagarh, Ms.SasmitaLenka who is a darin&proactive officer.

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Reporting illegaltrafficking, not buying pangolin products ranging from meat to wine, saying no to Chinese traditional medicine are some of the ways to protect this mammal.

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However,the only way, to prevent this already endangered species from becoming extinct is to create awareness aboutit'simportance to our ecosystem."Roly Poly Pangolin" is a book by Anna Dewdney, written for children, which teaches children in a fun way about this cute creature, so that they get involved in protecting it and stop the pangolin from being trafficked to extinction!

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Odisha forest officer Sasmita Lenka, on being conferred with United Nations 'Asia Environmental Enforcement Award, under the 'Gender Leadership and Impact' category for her work in busting pangolin smuggling rackets as DFO,Athgarh.



-Dr Gayatri Mohapatra


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