PANGOLINS

FAMILY: MANIDAE

Pangolins are the only mammals known to have plate-like scales; when threatened, they roll up into a ball, with the scales forming an armoured exterior. The scales are made of keratin (the same protein that makes up human hair and nails), which hardens as the pangolins reach maturity.

Similar to skunks, pangolins can secrete a foul smelling odour from the glands near their anus, which they use to mark their territory as a deterrent.
Pangolins are nocturnal and have poor eyesight, relying on their hearing and sense of smell to locate their prey at night.  Long, powerful, curved claws tear open anthills or termite mounds and with no teeth they use a sticky elongated tongue to retrieve insects. 

Tending to be solitary animals, pangolins meet only to mate. The gestation period depends on the species, but they all give birth to a single offspring. The young pangolin stays with its mother for around three to four months and grips onto its mother’s tail while foraging for insects. 

*International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species.

  • IUCN* STATUS

    Chinese and Sunda pangolin are Critically Endangered; Indian and Phillippine pangolin are Endangered; remaining species of pangolins are classified as Vulnerable

  • POPULATION

    Declining ⬇️ Little is known about the population numbers of pangolins, but all eight species have a decreasing population trend.

  • DIET

    Carnivorous/insectivorous – ants, termites and larvae

  • HABITAT

    Hollow trees or underground burrows, depending on the species, in tropical and sub-tropical forests, thick bush, grasslands and open savannah

  • LOCATION

    Eight species of pangolin have been identified, four of which are found in Asia and four in Africa

ISSUES

Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammals.  

With high levels of hunting and poaching for the illicit trade in their meat and scales (for traditional medicines in Asia - primarily in China and Vietnam), there has been a dramatic decrease in pangolin populations over the last 15 years.  

Deforestation of their natural habitats is also an issue. 

OUR WORK

Pangolins are the biggest victim of the illegal wildlife trade. Born Free lobbies governments to prioritise tackling this deadly trade, and works with like-minded organisations to rehabilitate orphaned and injured pangolins in the wild.

WE RAISE FUNDS TO SUPPORT . . .

 


WILDLIFE TRADE

Lobbying and raising awareness for the plight of wild pangolins, plus investigations into illegal poaching and the illicit trade in pangolin by-products.

WILDLIFE TRADE

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