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Indian Pangolin Conservation

Conservation Status Survey of Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve

There are eight extant species of pangolins; among them population of four Asian pangolin species (Botha & Gaudin 2007; Lim & Ng 2008) including Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata is believed to have declined significantly in many areas due to hunting and trade (Broad et al. 1988). M. crassicaudata is widely distributed through the plains and lower slopes of hills south of the Himalaya to the southern extremity of India (Tikader 1983; Prater 2005). However, little is known about the conservation status and activity pattern of the Indian Pangolin throughout its range (Burton & Pearson 1987). The species is legally protected under Schedule I (on par with the Bengal Tiger) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is also categorised as Endangered by the IUCN.

Yet, there hasn’t been any systematic study on Indian Pangolin in this region of Eastern Ghats ranges. Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest tiger reserve in the country with vast and contiguous tracts of forests. The deciduous and scrub forests in the reserve are an ideal habitat for the elusive Indian Pangolin. We believe this area holds the potential to conserve the species owing to the fact that it is well managed and relatively more protected as a tiger reserve. In such a scenario, an immediate conservation status survey to acquire vital data on the presence/absence of the species and specific human-induced threats is critical for designing next steps in conservation management of the species in NSTR.