Manis crassicaudata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Pholidota Manidae

Scientific Name: Manis crassicaudata É. Geoffroy, 1803
Common Name(s):
English Indian Pangolin, Thick-tailed Pangolin
French Grand pangolin de l'Inde, Pangolin à grosse queue
Spanish Pangolín Indio

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A3d+4d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-06-26
Assessor(s): Baillie, J., Challender, D., Kaspal, P., Khatiwada, A., Mohapatra, R. & Nash, H.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Endangered A3d+4d because it is subject to hunting and increasing levels of poaching, principally for its meat and scales, both for local use and for illicit international trade in scales, which has also occurred historically. Available evidence suggests this trade is destined for East Asia where scales are used in traditional medicines. It is suspected populations of this species will fall by at least 50% in the next 21 years (generation length estimated at 7 years) given the significant declines in Manis pentadactyla and Manis javanica over the last decade and the transfer of trade attention to other pangolin species following the formers' collapse'.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is distributed in South Asia from parts of eastern Pakistan through much of India south of the Himalayas (excluding northeastern portions of the country), Southern Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (Schlitter 2005, Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu 2012). There are historical records of this species in southwest China (Yunnan Province, Heath 1995; also see Smith and Xie 2008) and there have been dubious records in Myanmar (sources quoted in Allen 1938). 

This species is very locally distributed in Pakistan, where it has been recorded in Sialkot, Jhelum and Gujrat Districts in the northwest of the Punjab, extending across the Salt Range into Kohat District, and from Attock District (formerly known as Campbellpur) up to Mardan and Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province (Roberts 1977, CITES 2000). There are also records from before 2009 in Nowshera and Swabi (F. Abbas pers. comms. 2013). It has also been found in the Potohar Range upwards into the Himalayan foothills (up to 750 m asl). This species is also present in the districts of Kotli, Mirpur and Bhimber in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (R. Hussain pers. comms. 2013). Further south, there are records of the species within the last five years from the Indus River floodplain, including the districts of Bhakar and Jhang (F. Abbas pers. comms. 2013), and records from the hilly regions in the western part of the Dadu and Larkana deserts (Sindh), extending southward through Las Bela and Mekran. It also occurs east of the Indus in Hyderabad district and Tharparkar, extending eastwards to Kutch (Roberts 1977, CITES 2000). The species was described as rare in 1986 (CITES 2000).

In India, this species is widely distributed from the plains and lower hills south of the Himalayas to extreme southern India (Tikader 1983). There are historical records from Kerala and Kanyakumari; Tamil Nadu; Delhi; Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior and Achanakur Wildlife Sanctuaries, Chambal National Park and Achanakuar Wildlife Sanctuary); Karnataka (Bandipur, Bhadra, Dalma and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuaries; Bandipur Tiger Reserve); West Bengal (Buxa Tiger Reserve, Singalila Wildlife Sanctuary); Goa (Catugao Wildlife Sanctuary); Gujarat (Gir National Park); Rajasthan (Keolodeo Ghana Wildlife Sanctuary); Orissa including Kotgarh and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuaries and the Sunabedh Plateau, while Mishra and Panda (2012) report its presence in 14 out 30 districts here based on animals that have been rescued, as well as the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh (CITES 2000). Srinivasulu and Srinivasulu (2012) state this species also occurs in Andhara Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand. 

This species is distributed in lowland areas of southern and western Nepal (Baral and Shah 2008), being found in Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in the west (Baral H. pers. comms. 2013) and Bardia National Park, Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve and Banke National Park. 

In Bangladesh, this species was historically found throughout the country, excluding the coastal parts of Khulna, Barisal, Pauakhali, Noakhali and Chittagong Districts. The species is presumed extinct in Kushtia, Jessore, Pabna, Bogra, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, and most parts of Dhaka and Comilla (Khan 1985). Heath (1995) reported this species has been extirpated from Bangladesh altogether.   

In Sri Lanka, this species is found locally throughout the lowlands, up to 1,100 m asl in hill regions, coinciding with the range of termites (Phillips 1981, WCMC et al. 1999).

Countries occurrence:
India; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is virtually no information available on population levels of any species of Asian pangolin. There is a lack of research on population densities and on local, national and global populations (WCMC et al. 1999, CITES 2000). However, this species is thought to be in significant decline, primarily due to poaching for food and medicinal purposes locally. Moreover, trends in trade involving Asian pangolins in recent years suggest the species is now frequently found in illicit international trade, primarily its scales, with origins including India, Pakistan and potentially Nepal (Mahmood et al. 2012, Challender et al. in prep).

In Pakistan, research in the last three years into the ecology of this species in the Potohar Plateau, Punjab Province, has documented rapid population declines locally as a result of illegal killing to obtain scales for international trade (Mahmood et al. 2012, T. Mahmood pers. comms. 2013). 

This species was described as rare in Bangladesh in the mid-1980s (Khan 1985, CITES 2000) and while the previous assessment in 2008 suggested it occurs here in low numbers, Heath (1995) has suggested it has been extirpated here. Evidently, research do determine its status in Bangladesh is needed. 

In India, the overall status of this species is not well known, though it is listed as Vulnerable in the Indian red data book (Tikader 1983). Roberts (1977) reported it is relatively uncommon in Pakistan, where it has been subject to heavy poaching, at least locally, in the last few years (Mahmood et al. 2012).  

Although this species is found in protected areas in Nepal, for example there has been recent photographic evidence of its presence in the Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in the last few years, like elsewhere its status and abundance are unknown (H. Baral pers. comms. 2013). 

It is reportedly of variable abundance in Sri Lanka, but nowhere common (Phillips 1981).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:There is little known about the natural history of this species, but it is understood to occur in various types of tropical forests as well as open land, grasslands and degraded habitat, including in close proximity to villages (Zoological Survey of India 2002). The species is thought to adapt well to modified habitats, provided its ant and termite prey remains abundant and provided it is not subject to hunting pressure. Manis crassicaudata is generally solitary, nocturnal and burrow-dwelling except during mating season, when adult males and females share the same burrow, which are often under large rocks and the entrance concealed by dirt (Prater 1971, Roberts 1977, Tikader 1983). Females usually give birth to one young, although twins are apparently not unknown, after a gestation period of 165 days. Longevity in the wild is unknown, although in captivity it has been recorded up to 13 years 2 months (Jones, 1977). Although mainly ground-dwelling, this species is arboreal in some habitats, and is a good climber, using its prehensile tail and claws to climb trees (Heath 1995, Prater 1980).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species has been hunted historically as a local source of protein and for medicinal purposes (Misra and Hanfee 2000). It continues to be hunted for consumptive use, for example in the Western Ghats, India (A. Kanagavel pers. comms. 2012). It also continues to be hunted ritualistically, for example during 'Shikar Utsav' in Eastern Indian states which poses a serious threat to the species (Zoological Society of India 2002) while the flesh of the species is relished by some tribal communities. The scales of Manis crassicaudata are used whole, or in powdered form in the preparation of traditional medicines and as curios (Misra and Hanfee 2000). Manis crassicaudata skins have also been used to manufacture leather goods such as boots and shoes. There has been an established international trade in Manis pentadactyla derivatives, principally scales, from Northeast India to Myanmar and possibly China (Misra and Hanfee 2000) and such trade has come to include Manis crassicaudata scales in recent years (Mahmood et al. 2012, Challender et al. in prep).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Indian pangolin is primarily threatened by hunting and poaching, for both its meat and scales at the local, subsistence level, but increasingly for illegal international trade (Mahmood et al. 2012, Challender 2011, Misra and Hanfee 2000). This species has historically being exploited locally, and for international trade, and which continues today. Its meat is consumed as a source of protein locally and its scales are used in whole or powdered form in the preparation of traditional medicines and as curios (CITES 2000). There is evidence that the species is being severely impacted by hunting and poaching in India, which also occurs in Pakistan (Mahmood et al. 2012) and in Sri Lanka. However, there is little detailed information about its status range wide (CITES 2000) but there is now greater evidence of its inclusion in illicit international trade, in particular its scales, from both India and Pakistan, with Myanmar and China comprising the most likely, final destinations. Following suspected declines in populations of other Asian pangolin species, particularly the Chinese and Sunda pangolins in the last two decades, evidence suggests this species is now under greater exploitative pressure from hunting and poaching for illicit international trade. Although this species can adapt to modified habitats, a large proportion of its range has high human population density and rapid loss and deterioration of habitat, an increase in the agrarian economy, improved irrigation and the use of pesticides comprise additional threats to this species in India (Zoological Society of India 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed in CITES Appendix II and zero annual export quotas were established in 2000 (CoP11) for wild-caught specimens traded for primarily commercial purposes. It is protected by national legislation in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China. Although it is widely distributed and present in a number of protected areas there is a need for further research into current population levels, ecology, biology and natural history of this species throughout its known range. There is also a need for greater protection and management of the species in protected areas to prevent poaching.

In Bangladesh, all pangolins are legally protected under the Wildlife (Conservation & Security) Act 2012. 

In India, this species is included in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

In Pakistan, this species is protected under the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management) Ordinance, 1979 (Schedule III) and the North-West Frontier Province Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management) Act, 1975.

In Nepal, this species is listed as a Protected Animal in Schedule I of the National Parks and Wildlife Protection Act (1973, as amended 1993).

In Sri Lanka the species is listed as strictly protected (Schedule II) of the Fauna and Flora Protection (Amendment) Act (No. 22) 2009.

Although not listed as a protected species in China, as an Appendix II listed species, Manis crassicaudata is considered a State Category II protected species under regulations including the Protection of Wildlife Act (1989), the Regulations on the Implementation of Protection of Terrestrial Wild Animals (1992) and the Regulations on Management of Import and Export of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 2006, which implements CITES.

Citation: Baillie, J., Challender, D., Kaspal, P., Khatiwada, A., Mohapatra, R. & Nash, H. 2014. Manis crassicaudata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T12761A45221874. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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