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Overview

Brief Summary

The Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) appears like a scaly anteater and is found in northern IndiaNepalBhutan, possibly Bangladesh, across Myanmar to northern Indochina, through most of Taiwan and southern China, including the islands of Hainan. From head to body, it measures around 60 cm (24 in) and its tail measures about 18 cm (7 inches). A mature Chinese pangolin weighs about 2.4 kg (82.7 oz). A newborn pangolin weighs about 93 g (3.3 oz). 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. Its nose is plump, with nostrils at its end. This is a bronze-colored animal with a round body equipped with extremely sharp claws.

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Distribution

Manis pentadactyla, or the Chinese pangolin, ranges westward through Nepal, Assam, and eastern Himalaya, Burma, and China. The Chinese pangolin has been reported in Ramechap, Pannauti, Soondarijal, Barabisse, and Baglung.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

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Range Description

This species occurs in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, southern Bhutan and north and northeastern India, possibly northeastern Bangladesh, northern and western Myanmar, to northern and Annamite regions of Lao PDR and northern Viet Nam, northwest Thailand, and through southern China (south of the Chiangjiang - the Yangtze River) to Hainan, Taiwan (P.R. China) and Hong Kong SAR. However, it has likely been extirpated from parts of its current range, the limits of which are poorly known and may never be elucidated, due to high levels of exploitation historically. It exists at high altitudes, especially in the southern and western parts of its range, though also occurs at much lower altitudes, for example in Hong Kong and likely in the northeast of its range. Its latitudinal range is thought to overlap considerably with that of Manis javanica, with Manis pentadactyla tending to occur in hills and mountains and the former more generally found at lower altitudes. However, recent interviews with hunters in Viet Nam suggest that the two species can be found in the same areas of forest, and that the differences between them are ecological, relating to diet and habitat use, rather than altitude (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008).

The species is marginally present in northern India (Bihar) and has been recorded in northeastern India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim and the northern part of West Bengal) (Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2012, Tikader 1983, Zoological Society of India 2002).

The species occurs in southern Bhutan (though potentially central and western areas only) and Nepal, where it is confined to elevations below approximately 2,000 m asl (Baral and Shah 2008, Mitchell 1975, Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2012). It has been recorded as present in the Suklaphanta wildlife reserve in southwest Nepal within the last four years and in Jajarkot district in mid-west Nepal (H.S. Baral pers. comm. 2013).

This species has been recorded in north and central Lao PDR, however, there are too few locality records to determine the geographic and altitudinal range of the species in the country with any accuracy (Duckworth et al. 1999; Timmins and Evans 1996).

In China this species' distribution extends from the southern border as far north as Changjiang, including on the island of Chusan at the mouth of the Changjiang (Allen and Coolidge 1940). Available evidence indicates it extends to the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, and Fujian, and in the Autonomous Regions of Guangxi Zhuang, Tibet as well as Hainan Island, though it is replaced here by the subspecies Manis pentadactyla pusilla (Heath 1992, Zhang et al. 1997). It has been recorded in several sites in the central and northeast New Territories, as well as in Hong Kong SAR (including Lantau Island, but not on the smaller outlying islands), where it occurs at low altitudes (Reels 1996). In Taiwan (P.R. China), the species is replaced by the subspecies Manis pentadactyla pentadactlya (Formosan Pangolin, Chao et al. 2005) which occurs on the periphery of the Central Mountain Range, the Western Foothill Range, the Taoyuan Tableland, the Ouluanpi Tableland, the East Coast Mountain Range, the Tatun Volcano Group, Taipei Basin, Puli Basin, and the Pingtun Plain (Chao Jung-Tai 1989, Chao Jung-Tai et al. 2005). The upper limit of occurrence in Taiwan is around 2,000 m asl (Chao Jung-Tai 1989).

The species is plausibly widespread in northern Myanmar, although there are few records and its exact distribution is not well known (Salter 1983, Corbet and Hill 1992, J.W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2006).

The only records of the species in Thailand are from: Doi Inthanon (formerly Doi Angka) in Changwat, Chiang Mai (northern Thailand), sometime in 1937 and 1939 (Allen and Coolidge 1940) and Doi Sutep, Chiangmai (northern Thailand) in 1901.

All records of the species in Viet Nam are from the northern half of the country, as far south as Quang Tri Province and up to 1,000 m asl though actual upper altitudinal limits here are unknown (Bourret 1942, van Peenen et al. 1969, Do Tuoc pers. comm. 2006, P. Newton pers. comm. 2008).

Little is known about the species' distribution in Bangladesh (CITES 2000).
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Physical Description

Morphology

The Chinese pangolin has been referred to as the scaly anteater because that is what it resembles. It measures around 60 cm from head to body with an 18 cm tail. Sexual dimorphism is present in this species.

Manis pentadactyla has about 18 rows of overlapping scales. The scales are accompanied by hairs, an unusual combination in mammals.

Chinese pangolins have a small pointed head and a narrow mouth. The nose is fleshy and has nostrils at the end. This bronze colored animal has a very round body. The forefeet and hind feet are equipped with sharp claws.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 2350 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 3.727 W.

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Ecology

Habitat

Chinese pangolins inhabit subtropical and deciduous forests. In central Nepal these areas are on rolling hills where there are numerous, large termite mounds.

Manis pentadactyla is a burrowing species. They use their strong, clawed forefeet to dig burrows up to 8 ft deep. This can be done in three to five minutes. Once the pangolin is inside, it blocks the entrance. In some cases, they have been observed occupying the burrow of another animal.

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; scrub forest

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in a wide range of habitats, including primary and secondary tropical forests, limestone forests, bamboo forests, broad-leaf and coniferous forests, grasslands and agricultural fields (Chao Jung-Tai 1989, Gurung 1996). The species digs its own burrows, or enlarges passages made by termites. Indications are that home ranges are relatively large, although concrete data are lacking (Heath and Vanderlip 1988). Hunters interviewed in Viet Nam indicate that Manis pentadactyla digs its own, long burrows underground, which they use both to eat termites and in which to sleep (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). The main way hunters catch this species is by using dogs, tracking them and digging them out of burrows (Newton et al. 2008, P. Newton pers. comm. 2008).

This species is solitary, primarily nocturnal (sometimes crepuscular), and largely terrestrial although it is fully capable of climbing trees and, like other pangolins, swims well (Heath and Vanderlip 1988; Chao Jung-Tai 1989). Little is known about the species' life history, although in China and Taiwan, young (normally one and occasionally two) are reportedly born in spring (Allen and Coolidge 1940, Chao Jung-Tai 1989). Hunters in Viet Nam reported that they never find this species in trees and it seems likely that it is far more terrestrial than the more arboreal Manis javanica (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008).

Its diet consists of ants and termites and it has been noted that in China, there appears to be a close correlation between its distribution and the distribution of two termite species (Coptotermes formosanus and Termes (Cyclotermes) formosanus) which are assumed to form a major component of its diet (Allen and Coolidge 1940, Heath and Vanderlip 1988).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

Manis pentadactyla feed on insects, namely ants and termites. They use their claws to open up termite and ant mounds. Then they draw the prey into their mouths with their 25 cm long, sticky tongues.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, but one specimen was still alive after 15.3 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

In Nepal, Chinese pangolins reproduce during April and May. A single young is born measuring about 45 cm and weighing about 1 lb. The young come equipped with scales, although they are soft and flexible for the first two days of life. Although they are able to walk at birth, young pangolins are carried on their mother's tail or back. If the mother is threatend, she folds her offspring under her body with her tail. Male pangolins have been observed to exhibit remarkable parental instincts and share a burrow with the female and young.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 92.5 g.

Average number of offspring: 1.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Manis pentadactyla live in many protected forests throughout their range. The biggest conservation problem that they face is being hunted for meat, and habitat destruction. Many of the protected parks that they inhabit cannot be patrolled and poachers hunt at will with little chance of being caught. Land development threatens the areas that are not protected.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2d+3d+4d

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Challender, D., Baillie, J., Ades, G., Kaspal, P., Chan, B., Khatiwada, A., Xu, L., Chin, S., KC, R., Nash, H. & Hsieh, H.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Critically Endangered A2d+3d+4d due to high levels of poaching for meat and scales, both targeted and untargeted, across its range. Although this species has been used locally across its range historically, which continues today, much poaching is now for international trade, driven largely by market demand in China. Over the time frame of three generations (21 years, generation length estimated at seven years) this species has been heavily exploited for international trade based on trade figures, while the subspecies, M. p. pusillia, which occurs on Hainan Island, has been reduced to remnant populations. Evidence indicates that poaching has now shifted to the south and west of this species' range and there has been a very heavy unrecorded and therefore likely illicit trade involving an estimated tens of thousands of animals in international trade in the last decade. There are predicted continuing declines of <90% over the next 21 years or three generations.
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Population

Population
There is virtually no information available on population levels of any species of Asian pangolin either at the global or national level anywhere across the species' range, with two exceptions (see below), and there is a paucity of research on population densities, population levels and abundance. This species is rarely observed, principally due to its increasing rarity, but also because it is secretive, solitary and primarily nocturnal. Evidence indicates it has been extirpated from parts of its current range, as a result of over-exploitation, and is otherwise in steep decline across most of its range (SATCM 1996, CITES 2000).

Reports in China suggest pangolins here (Manis pentadactyla in addition to Manis javanica and Manis crassicaudata which are still or were once present; Heath 1992; Wu et al. 2005) were commercially extinct by c.1995, with Chinese demand for pangolin products subsequently being met through imports, largely from Southeast Asia (SATCM 1996, CITES 2000, Newton et al. 2008, Challender et al. in prep.). Although, Wu et al. (2002) estimated populations of the Chinese Pangolin in China to be 50,000-100,000, in 2004 Wu et al. estimated pangolin populations generally within and close to China have declined by 88.88 - 94.12% from levels in the 1960s. Interviews as part of ongoing research in China indicates this species is present but very rare in the border areas of Guangxi and Yunnan provinces (P.L.B. Chan pers. comm. 2013). On Hainan Island, extensive field research between 1997 and 2013 and interviews with hunters suggest the subspecies here, M. p. pusllia, is commercially extinct, as a result of past and ongoing hunting pressure. Some remnant individuals do exist but face a high risk of extinction if the high demand for this species continues (P.L.B. Chan pers. comm. 2013).

In Hong Kong SAR, on-going research indicates the Chinese Pangolin is present, having been recorded within and outside the Country Park network, but is considered rare (G. Ades pers. comm. 2013).

In Taiwan (P.R. China) reports from the late 1980s and early 1990s suggest that populations of the subspecies M. p. pentadactyla (Formosan Pangolin) were decreasing, largely due to hunting, and although little is known about the status of the species, populations are suspected to be greatly reduced today and this subspecies is considered rare (Chao Jung-Tai 1989, Chao et al. 2005).

Surveys conducted in the Royal Nagarjung Forest in Kathmandu, Nepal, in the early 1990s determined that there was a healthy population here, however, the general trend elsewhere in Nepal was dramatic declines, due to increased access to hunting areas (Gurung 1996). Hunting of pangolins here for contemporary international trade also suggests populations continue to be subject to exploitative pressure (Challender et al in prep.).

This species was reported in the 1980s as common in the undisturbed hill forests of Arunachal Pradesh, however, little is known about the total population in India (Tikader 1983, Zoological Survey of India 1994). Yet, trade figures suggest this species is under severe hunting pressure in Northeast India (Misra and Hanfee 2000, Challender et al. in prep.).

The species is very rare in Viet Nam (Do Tuoc pers. comm. 2006). There is a provisional record for Ba Na National Park, which straddles the provinces of Quang Nam and Da Nang (Frontier Viet Nam, 1994). Hunters in Viet Nam reported that they still find Manis pentadactyla in Cuc Phuong National Park (in Quang Binh province), in Khe Net Nature Reserve, and in Ke Go Nature Reserve (Ha Tinh province) (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). However, all hunters reported that the species is extremely rare, and that populations have declined dramatically in the last two decades (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). In 2007, P. Newton (pers. comm.) found recent (i.e., less than one month old) signs of pangolin activity (recently-dug burrows) in Cuc Phuong National Park, which was possibly Manis pentadactyla as opposed to Manis javanica, though this is difficult to substantiate. In Khe Net and Ke Go, hunters reported that numbers of Manis pentadactyla were lower than those of Manis javanica, probably because the former is easier to hunt. If this is the case, then in places where both species occur, populations of Manis pentadactyla are likely to be more heavily depleted.

The species has been so heavily hunted in Lao PDR that field sightings are exceptionally rare, and the only recent field sightings (during 1994-1995) was of an individual in Nam Theun Extension PNBCA (Proposed National Biodiversity Conservation Area) and one seen in a village in Nakai-Nam Theun NBCA during the same period (Duckworth et al. 1999).

The status of this species in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Thailand is unknown.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The primary threat to this species is hunting and poaching, both targeted and untargeted, for local, i.e. national level use as well as international trade, which is now driven largely by market demand in China, and this species is evidently subject to very heavy collection pressure across much of its range (Anon. 1999, Challender 2011, CITES 2000, Pantel and Chin 2009, Wu and Ma 2007). As has occurred historically, exploitation for consumptive, medicinal and spiritualistic reasons locally continues to take place (Anon. 1992, Anon. 1999, CITES 2000), but evidence suggests local use is often forgone in favour of entering animals into national and international trade given their high monetary value (Newton et al. 2008). This is despite the introduction of CITES zero export quotas for wild-caught animals traded commercially in the year 2000 (Newton et al. 2008). Within the last decade trade in this species is estimated to have involved a minimum of tens of thousands of individuals (Challender et al. in prep.) and market demand in China, where pangolin meat is consumed as a luxury product and its scales used in traditional medicines, appears to driving this trade (Wu and Ma 2007, Zhang et al. 2008, Challender et al. in prep.). Here pangolin meat is consumed conspicuously as a luxury wild meat dish for which affluent consumers are willing to pay high prices. This species also appears in both Chinese and Vietnamese traditional medicinal literature which prescribes the use of scales in traditional medicines to: treat skin conditions, improve blood circulation and to stimulate milk secretion in lactating women (Ellis 2005). In China, pangolin scales continue to be prescribed for these and other ailments, including cancer (Yue 2008), through designated outlets such as hospitals, but also through traditional medicine retailers, as in Viet Nam. However, given the decline in this species historically, especially in China (see below), it is difficult to determine if scales sold today are those from stockpiles of scales maintained by the State Forestry Administration in China, or from the Sunda pangolin Manis javanica or other species of Asian pangolin.

As a result of past and ongoing exploitation, and within the time frame of three generations of this species (estimated at 21 years; generation length estimated at seven years), it has been inferred that Manis pentadactyla is commercially extinct in China (SATCM 1996, Wu et al. 2004), though remnant populations are understood to remain and further research is needed to confirm presence/absence (P.L.B. Chan pers. comm. 2013). Similarly, extensive fieldwork on Hainan Island between 1997 and 2013 suggests the subspecies M. p. pusilla is commercially extinct and has been reduced to remnant populations only (P.L.B. Chan pers. comm. 2013).

It is significant that this species is reported to be an easier species to locate and hunt in the wild, compared to the Sunda pangolin Manis javanica (P. Newton pers. comm.). This is because it is more terrestrial, and is thus: a) easier to track their scent using specialised hunting dogs (the scent of Manis javanica is often lost at points at which the animal climbed a tree); and b) has conspicuous soil burrows that are more easily accessed than the tree hollows favoured by Manis javanica (P. Newton pers. comm.). For these reasons, the hunting threat to Manis pentadactyla is perhaps even greater than that to Manis javanica (P. Newton pers. comm.).

Unfortunately, very little research has been conducted on pangolins or their hunting, poaching and trade in Asia, though one exception is research conducted by Newton et al. (2008) in Viet Nam. Here, every hunter interviewed (N = 84) reported that they now sell all pangolins that they catch (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). Prices are so high that local, subsistence use of pangolins for either meat or their scales has completely halted in favour or selling to the national/international trade (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). The only occasions on which a hunter might eat a pangolin is if it is already dead when they retrieve it from a trap and then they would use the meat and sell the scales (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). MacMillan and Nguyen (2013) report similar findings and it is likely this circumstance is prevalent across Asia. The price per kg of pangolin (in Viet Nam, at least) has escalated rapidly (at a rate greater than that of annual inflation) since the commercial trade in wild pangolins began to expand in about 1990 (P. Newton pers. comm. 2008). Prices paid to hunters now exceed US$95 per kg (Viet Nam, P. Newton pers. comm. 2008) which is reflected up the trade chain with retail prices in China and Viet Nam having increased in recent years (D.W.S. Challender pers. comm. 2013).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed in CITES Appendix II and zero annual export quotas were established for wild-caught specimens traded for primarily commercial purposes in 2000 (CoP11). It is listed as a protected species in national or sub-national legislation in all range states, except Bhutan. While it has been recorded in, and may still occur in, some protected areas, protected area designation alone is insufficient to protect this species. Greater enforcement and management within protected areas to prevent poaching is needed as is strict enforcement along national and international trade routes, the identification and verification of strongholds where conservation efforts should be focused, and efforts to reduce consumer demand in key markets.

In Bangladesh, this species is protected by the Wildlife (Conservation & Security) Act 2012.

In China Manis pentadactyla is a State Category II protected species under the Protection of Wildlife Act (1989). It is also afforded protection under the Regulations on the Implementation of Protection of Terrestrial Wild Animals (1992) and the Regulations on Management of Import and Export of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 2006, which implements CITES. It also received further protection in the year 2000, following the promulgation of two judicial interpretations, which defined criteria for punishing crimes involving pangolins specifically. Similarly, a notification issued by national Chinese agencies in 2007 strengthened regulation for species used in traditional medicines, including pangolins, meaning hunting licenses for pangolins here are not to be issued and existing stockpiles of pangolin scales are to be subject to verification, certification and subject to retail trade only through designated outlets such as hospitals.

In Hong Kong SAR this species is protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance 1976 (amended 1980, 1996) and the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants 2006.

In Taiwan (P.R. China), all Manis spp. have been protected since August 1990 under the 1989 Wildlife Conservation Law (amended 1994).

In India, this species is completely protected being listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (amended 2003, 2006).

In Thailand, all Manis spp. are classified as Protected Wild Animals under the 1992 Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535.

In Nepal, this species is listed as a Protected Animal in Schedule I of the National Parks and Wildlife Protection Act (1973, as amended 1993).

In Lao PDR Manis pentadactyla is listed in the Prohibition category of Lao PDR's Wildlife and Aquatic Law (2007) as a rare, near extinct, high value or species of special importance in the development of socio-economic, environmental, educational and scientific research.

In Myanmar this species is listed as a completely protected animal under the Protection of Wildlife and Wild Plants and Conservation of Natural Areas Law (1994).

In Viet Nam this species is listed as legally protected in Group IIB of Decree 32 on the Management of Endangered, Precious and Rare species of wild plants and animals (2006). However, section 9 of this law permits pangolins seized from illicit trade to legally be sold back into trade. Lack of an appropriate solution for confiscated pangolins continues to be a major problem for enforcement agencies in Viet Nam.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

The Chinese pangolin is considered a delicacy in many areas such as Vietnam and Hong Kong. They are hunted mainly for their meat.

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Wikipedia

Chinese pangolin

The Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) is a pangolin found in northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, northern Indochina, through most of Taiwan and southern China (including the islands of Hainan).[3] The Chinese pangolin is one of eight species of pangolin. Although these species are difficult to observe due to their elusive and solitary habits, it is believed that all eight are on the decline. Asian pangolin species, especially the Chinese pangolin and the Sunda pangolin, are the most endangered of all the pangolin species.[4] The IUCN reports that the number of Chinese pangolins has declined greatly over the past fifteen years. Despite being listed as critically endangered by the IUCN and being protected by CITES, poaching continues to be the main cause of their decline in numbers. Deforestation has also contributed to the depletion in the pangolins’ numbers.[5]

Appearance and behavior[edit]

The Chinese pangolin has the appearance of a scaly anteater. Its head and body measure around 60 centimetres (24 in) and its tail measures about 18 cm (7.1 in). A mature Chinese pangolin weighs from 2–7 kilograms (4.4–15.4 lb). 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. It also has claws that grow in as it grows older. The female gives birth to a single offspring at a time.

A newborn pangolin weighs about 93 grams (3.3 oz), its length is about 45 cm (18 in). The Chinese pangolin reproduces in April and May when the weather warms. The young also have scales; however, they remain very soft for at least two days, then harden. Although the young pangolin can walk on its very first day, the mother carries it on her back or tail. If the mother feels threatened, she immediately folds her baby onto her belly with the help of her tail. Male pangolins have been observed allowing the female and baby to share the burrow.

Chinese pangolin skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology

Chinese pangolins are rather secretive, nocturnal creatures. They move very slowly and are known for their nonaggressive behavior. Their hard scales work as a protective cover from predators, and when they feel threatened, they curl themselves into balls. For further defense, they can climb trees, although this is uncommon.

They mainly eat insects, particularly termites and ants. They dig into ant nests and termite mounds with their large fore claws and extract their prey with their long, sticky tongues.

In Vietnam and Hong Kong, Chinese pangolins are considered a delicacy. They are hunted on a wide scale for human consumption. Factors such as habitat destruction and hunting constantly challenge their survival. Chinese pangolins are now on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, however, since the forests they inhabit are difficult to patrol, it is difficult to prevent people from hunting these animals.

Habitats[edit]

The Chinese pangolin digs long burrows in the ground. They use this to sleep and eat termites.[6]

Habitats include:

  • primary and secondary tropical forests
  • bamboo forests
  • limestone forests
  • broad leaf forests
  • coniferous forests
  • agricultural fields
  • grasslands[7]

"The Critter"[edit]

Zoo Leipzig

The Chinese pangolin is probably "The Critter", one of the pets of the Raven FACs at their secret base in Long Tieng during the covert war in Laos. It was described as a foot-long "prehistoric" beast, covered in armor plating with a long tail and a pointed nose, a "cross between a sloth and an armadillo", by the US pilots.

After its accidental death, The Critter's body was preserved in a one-gallon jar filled with alcohol. A picture taken of the preserved animal was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, as well as to the Natural History department of La Sorbonne in Paris, but no positive reply was forthcoming. For a long time, nobody knew what kind of animal it was until one of the pilots stationed in Laos happened to see the animal on a Laotian postage stamp, part of a stamp series on indigenous animals from Laos, under the name "Panis Auritas".[8]

Dietary needs and eating habits[edit]

A study done by the Chinese Journal of Applied and Environmental Biology identified the Chinese Pangolin as a "susceptible species due to its food specialization and stenophagy (only eating several species of ants and termites)”.[9] Due to the pangolin's very specific diet, it can become arduous to provide the appropriate food for them while they're being observed and maintained. Pangolins are typically held in zoo's due to their abilities to feed and preserve the rare animal. However, since the 1970's, "pangolins are now almost unknown to visitors and are exhibited infrequently in zoos", and have "historically been difficult to maintain, with most captive animals dying within a short period after capture". When in their natural habitat, this species lives "on a diet of ants, termites, and various other invertebrates including bee larvae, flies, worms, earthworms, and crickets”. After carefully creating new, more sustainable recipes in zoos's, some of the ingredients that are used have included "egg, meat (ground beef, horse, canned feline diet), evaporated milk products, milk powder, fish protein, orchid leaves, commercial chows, psyllium seed, carrots, yeast, multivitamins, and insects (mixtures of silkworm larvae, earth, ants, termites, meal worms, or crickets)”. A number of zoo's that have kept pangolin's under observation have found that the animals died in a most commonly after a few years, without breeding successfully. Researchers claim this outcome is correlated to the "poor acceptance of captive diets and digestive problems.” [10] This Chinese Pangolin is considered to be high risk in terms of extinction.[9]

Poaching and trafficking[edit]

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 2002 prohibited selling pangolins across national borders. Although China has already passed laws to protect the pangolin, it might not be enough to save the species. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) reports that pangolins are the most trafficked and poached mammal.[11] The Chinese pangolin is hunted for its meat, claws, and scales. Pangolin meat, which is considered a delicacy in parts of China and Vietnam, has been reported to sell for as high as US $200 per kilogram (2.2 lb). Pangolin scales and blood are in demand in Asia for their supposed medicinal qualities.[12] Some Chinese believe pangolin scales, made of keratin, can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments, from cancer, to an upset stomach, to asthma. Other pangolin body parts are also used in traditional Chinese medicines. According to one survey composed in 2013, certain Nepalese natives believe pangolin scales are also good luck charms.[13] Each pangolin has approximately 500 g (18 oz) of scales which can be sold for roughly US $350 dollars on the black market.[citation needed]

IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group is seeking to raise 6.7 million[clarify]

so they can begin to implement a pangolin recovery plan. These funds would be used to protect pangolin habitat, raise global awareness, and reduce demand for Chinese and Vietnamese buyers.[14] Even though the pangolins have been protected by legislation since the 1970s and 1980s, people still choose to hunt these endangered animals at an alarming rate. After random inspections on May 28, 2014 at the Kwai Chung cargo port in Hong Kong, officials detained scales from nearly 8.000 pangolins. Just two weeks later, Hong Kong officials seized a second shipment that contained scales from about 5,000 pangolins.[15]

The journal Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment estimated that the remains of about 10,000 pangolins are intercepted each year.[16] Zhao-Min Zhou and Macdonald from Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment claim form their records that 220 living pangolins and the remains of 4,909 dead pangolins were seized in 43 law enforcement actions since 2010.[17]

Indonesian Forestry Ministry director of investigations and forest observation Raffles Panjaitan told the Jakarta Post that in October 2011 his agency had 587 cases of pangolin trafficking since 2006. The estimated value is US $4.3 million dollars worth of pangolins on the illegal market.[18]

In April of 2013, a Philippine coast guard inspected a boat where they found 10,000 kg (22,000 lb) of pangolin meat. They also discovered 400 boxes containing thousands of frozen skinned pangolins and scaly anteaters from Indonesia. The Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa city in Palawan province sentenced the boat captain to 12 years in prison and each crew member received up to six to 10 years. Each member of the crew was also fined $100,000.[19]

Conservation[edit]

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has classified the Chinese Pangolin under Appendix II, which means it is not directly threatened with extinction, but will be if measures are not taken to prevent the exploitation of this species.[20] Many of the countries the Chinese Pangolin resides in have already passed legislation to protect them. Below is a list of the different countries' legislation in order from oldest to newest laws:

China has passed much more legislation for pangolin protection than other countries, because the species' population has drastically declined in China over the last few decades. This is the direct result of extreme poaching for pangolin scales and meat. Clearly though, legislation is not enough and alternatives to laws need to be considered.[original research?] The IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group made a proposal in July 2014 to increase awareness, funding, and research for Pangolin conservation. Some of the plan's highlights include making protocols to monitor pangolin populations, establishing a consumption index of pangolin products, using DNA analysis to determine variation between and within species, and identifying species strongholds to determine best allocation of resources.[21] Furthermore, the conservation plan aims to increase patrol-based monitoring around stronghold populations, increase awareness and education about the severity of the problem, and, most importantly, implement a demand reduction strategy for pangolin meat and scales.[21]

Another alternative to legislation includes offering positive incentives, like monetary payments or control over land's resources, to local communities for their involvement in conservation efforts.[22] However, the incentives would have to be more beneficial to the community than poaching. Therefore, further research is needed to find appropriate incentives for the communities near pangolin strongholds, and governments would need to approve of such incentives. Other researchers have proposed the importance of finding biological substitutes for endangered species used in traditional medicines.[23] DNA barcoding and analysis could be used to determine what common species are genetically similar enough and produce similar effects as the Chinese Pangolin scales. In order to crack down on poaching, the barcoding technique could also be used for accurate detection of species products being imported and exported.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Challender, D., Baillie, J., Ades, G., Kaspal, P., Chan, B., Khatiwada, A., Xu, L., Chin, S., KC, R., Nash, H. & Hsieh, H. (2014). "Manis pentadactyla". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  2. ^ Linnæus, Carl (1758). Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I (in Latin) (10 ed.). Holmiæ: Laurentius Salvius. p. 36. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Schlitter, D. A. (2005). "Order Pholidota". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 530. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  4. ^ "PROJECT PANGOLIN." PROJECT PANGOLIN RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
  5. ^ Pietersen, D., Waterman, C., Hywood, L., Rankin, P. & Soewu, D. 2014. Smutsia temminckii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 October 2014.
  6. ^ Challender, D., Baillie, J., Ades, G., Kaspal, P., Chan, B., Khatiwada, A., Xu, L., Chin, S., KC, R., Nash, H. & Hsieh, H. 2014. Manis pentadactyla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 October 2014
  7. ^ "EDGE of Existence." EDGE of Existence. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
  8. ^ Christopher Robbins, The Ravens: Pilots of the Secret War in Laos. Asia Books 2000.
  9. ^ a b Shibao, Wu; Naifa, Liu; Yingmei, Zahng; Guangzhi, MA (2004). "Assesment of Threatened Status of Chinese Pangolin". Chinese Journal of Applied and Environmental Biology. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "History and Dietary Husbandry of Pangolins in Captivity". Zoo Biology 26: 223–230. 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Foley, James A. "Plight of the Pangolin: The Most Trafficked Animal on Earth Needs More Protection." Nature World News RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  12. ^ "PROJECT PANGOLIN." PROJECT PANGOLIN RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
  13. ^ Katuwal, Hem Bahadur, et al. "Pangolins Trade, Ethnic Importance and its Conservation in Eastern Nepal." (2013).
  14. ^ "12 Chinese Men Whose Boat Had Frozen Pangolin Meat Convicted Of Poaching In Philippine Park." Canadian Press, The (n.d.): Points of View Reference Center. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  15. ^ Clifton, Merritt. "Armor Is Not Enough to Protect Pangolins." Animals 247. N.p., 8 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
  16. ^ "12 Chinese Men Whose Boat Had Frozen Pangolin Meat Convicted Of Poaching In Philippine Park." Canadian Press, The (n.d.): Points of View Reference Center. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  17. ^ Clifton, Merritt. "Armor Is Not Enough to Protect Pangolins." Animals 247. N.p., 8 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
  18. ^ Clifton, Merritt. "Armor Is Not Enough to Protect Pangolins." Animals 247. N.p., 8 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
  19. ^ "12 Chinese Men Whose Boat Had Frozen Pangolin Meat Convicted Of Poaching In Philippine Park." Canadian Press, The (n.d.): Points of View Reference Center. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
  20. ^ a b Challender, D., Baillie, J., Ades, G., Kaspal, P., Chan, B., Khatiwada, A., Xu, L., Chin, S., KC, R., Nash, H. & Hsieh, H. 2014. Manis pentadactyla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
  21. ^ a b Challender, DWS, Waterman, C, and Baillie, JEM. 2014. Scaling up pangolin conservation. IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group Conservation Action Plan. Zoological Society of London, London, UK.
  22. ^ Challender, Dan. "Positive Incentives for Conserving Pangolins in Asia and the Challenges to Be Overcome." SULiNews 7 (Dec. 2013): n. pag. IUCN. Web.
  23. ^ Luo, Jiao-yang et al. "A Strategy for Trade Monitoring and Substitution of the Organs of Threatened Animals." Scientific Reports. Nature Publishing Group, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
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