On the eve of World Pangolin Day (observed on the third Saturday of February), the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department broke a good news. Conservationists in the area have successfully managed to radio tag — not just one, but two — Indian Pangolins in the region.This will help in monitoring their position better. By Kumar Shree
If you do a web search for the most trafficked mammal in the world, Pangolins will show up right on top of the page. The mammals’ keratin scales form an important part in Chinese medicine and its meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam. While these factors lead to the illegal poaching of Pangolins, deforestation and destruction of their habitats has made matters worse. As of now, there are only eight surviving species of Pangolins found around the world. Two out of these eight are found in India —the Indian Pangolin, and the Chinese Pangolin.
The practice of radio-tagging animals is common throughout the world. It is especially done for tracking their movement in sanctuaries and migration zones. This, however, is the first instance of radio tagging two Indian Pangolins in the subcontinent. The Madhya Pradesh forest department partnered with non-profit Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) for achieving this feat. The process took place at the Satpura Tiger Reserve.
While both the species are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, they are still being smuggled at an alarming scale. Moreover, this smuggling is not limited within the country, but it takes place on an international level as well. Sadly, since much is not known about these beautiful animals, ensuring their survival becomes tough. The radio-tagging can be seen as a big step towards changing this scenario, and helping in conserving them. Countries like the USA have successfully used radio-tagging to formulate action plans for their wildlife. This makes us even more hopeful about a better future for Pangolins.