• IASbaba
  • November 26, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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Context: During recently concluded the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) urged countries, to remove references to parts and derivatives of pangolins “from the official pharmacopoeia” to help save the species.

About Pangolins:

  • Scientific Name: Manis crassicaudata
  • The Indian pangolin is the largest among eight pangolin species.
  • Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India. They are Chinese pangolin (manis pentadactyla), mostly found in northeast India and Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata).

Animal Description:

  • It has large, overlapping scales on its body that act as armour.
  • It can also curl itself into a ball (volvation) as self-defence against predators such as the tiger.
  • The nocturnal animal lives in burrows and feed on ants and termites.

Habitat and  Distribution:

  • The species is understood to occur in various types of tropical forests as well as open land, grasslands and degraded habitats, including close to villages.
  • The species can adapt well to modified habitats, provided its ant and termite prey remains abundant
  • It is widely distributed in India, except in the arid region, high Himalayas and the North-East.
  • It can be found at elevations up to 2500 m. The species also occurs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Threats: Poaching for its meat and scales, which are used and consumed by local people, but are also increasingly traded internationally.
    • The scales serves as base component for indigenous (traditional) psychotropic substances.
    • China is main illicit hub (market) for smuggled scales of Pangolins, where they have huge demand for medicinal and magical purposes.
  • Protection status : Indian Pangolins
    • Schedule I under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
    • Appendix I of the International Convention of Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
    • Endangered in IUCN Red List.
    • Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered” by UN affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

About CITES:

  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade.
  • It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • AIM: Its aim is to ensure that international trade (import/export) in specimens of animals and plants included under CITES, does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.
    • Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties it does not take the place of national laws.
  • Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.

Source: DownToEarth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon Frogmouth, Coppersmith Barbet, Gray Chinned Minivet and White-throated Redstart are  (2021)

  1. Birds
  2. Primates
  3. Reptiles
  4. Amphibians

Q.2) With reference to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which of the following statements is/are correct?  (2015)

  1. IUCN is an organ of the United Nations and CITES is an international agreement between governments
  2. IUCN runs thousands of field projects around the world to better manage natural environments
  3. CITES is legally binding on the States that have joined it, but this Convention does not take the place of national laws

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


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