The Endangered Chinese Pangolin
Endangered (IUCN 3.1)
Under the Evolutionary and Globally Endangered species list the Chinese Pangolin is also listed.
EDGE specifies those species that have few or no close relatives on the tree of life, and the Chinese pangolin is considered extremely unique in the way it looks, lives, behaves and in its genetic makeup.
ED-Evolutionary Distinctiveness--20.36 Is rated on whether once extinct there would be others in the same family that could carry on the branch of that family tree.
GE-Global Endangerment--5.14 This score is rated on a similar basis to the IUCN score.
The Chinese Pangolin(Manis pentadactyla)
This unusual looking animal in found in northern India, Bhutan, possibly Bangladesh, across Myanmar,, through most of Taiwan and southern China including the Islands of Hainan.
They belong to a burrowing family and can dig as deep as 8feet(2.5m) in just 5 Min's.
They weigh in at around 8.0lbs(3.6kgs) when fully grown , growing from a birth weight of just 3.3oz(93g). The Pangolin grows to a length in head and body of 24ins and then has a 7 in tail.It has 18 rows of overlapping scales, made of keratin, which are accompanied by hair, this is rare among among mammals!. their heads are little, pointed and end in a plump nose with nostrils right at the end of it, and their mouths are small and narrow.
It is bronze( anything from a sandy bronze to almost black) in colouring and has extremely long and sharp claws. These long claws not only enable them to dig quickly but are perfect for ripping apart Ant and Termite nests and for scooping out their prey, along with their very long sticky tongue.
They have poor vision, are nocturnal but have a very strong sense of smell, and are in fact a solitary animal which is why it is proving difficult to calculate an exact number left in the wild. Although basically an animal that lives on the land and digs its own burrows to sleep and nest when raising its young. The Chineses Pangolin can climb trees and is also a very good swimmer.
Their main ranges of habitat are in tropical forests, limestone forests, bamboo forests, grasslands and even farmland.
Unfortunately and very sadly the Chinese Pangolin is on the decline , even though there are efforts being made locally and internationally to stop this.
They are heavily hunted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy and their skin and scales, the latter two being used for both traditional Chinese medicine and for clothes.
A high price is demanded and received for Pangolin parts and despite laws the demand locally and internationally is growing whether the animals arrive at their destination dead or alive. This is also leading to poaching in protected areas where some of them live.
When caught locally they are often kept alive and then transported to markets to be sold. here their skulls are crushed to kill them and very quickly their tongues are cut so the body bleeds out. This blood is collected as it drains and then is drunk whilst still warm as a tonic.