Manis crassicaudata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Manis crassicaudata
Species Authority: É. Geoffroy, 1803
Common Name(s):
English Indian Pangolin, Thick-tailed Pangolin
French Grand Pangolin De l'Inde, Grand Pangolin De L’inde, Pangolin À Grosse Queue
Spanish Pangolín Indio

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Molur, S.
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N. & Molur, S. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Near Threatened (NT) because it is suspected to be in significant decline (though not at a rate of over 30% over the past and future ten years) primarily due to hunting for food and medicine. The future threats from hunting could increase even more, given the significant declines experienced by Manis pentadactyla and Manis javanica. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A.
1996 Lower Risk/near threatened (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in South Asia from parts of eastern Pakistan through much of India (excluding northeastern portions of the country) south of the Himalayas, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (CITES 2000; Schlitter 2005). There have been dubious records in Myanmar (sources quoted in Allen 1938) and southern China (Yunnan) which almost certainly refer to Manis javanica (WCMC et al. 1999).

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).

In India, this species is widely distributed from the plains and lower hills south of the Himalayas to extreme southern India (Tikader 1983). There have been recent records from Kerala and Kanyakumari; Tamil Naidu; Delhi; Gwalior and Achanakur Wildlife Sanctuaries (Madhya Pradesh); Bandipur, Bhadra, Dalma and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuaries; Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka); Buxa Tiger Reserve (West Bengal); Catugao Wildlife Sanctuary (Goa); Chambal National Park (Madhya Pradesh); Gir National Park (Gujarat); Keolodeo Ghana Wildlife Sanctuary (Rajasthan); Kotgarh and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuaries and the Sunabedh Plateau (Orissa); Singalila Wildlife Sanctuary (West Bengal); Achanakuar Wildlife Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh); and the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh (CITES 2000).

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 Campbellpur District up to Mardan and Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province (Roberts 1977; CITES 2000). It was found in the Potwar Range upwards into the Rawalpindi foothills (up to 750 m asl). Further south, the species appears to be absent from the Indus River floodplain, however, there are records from the right bank of the Indus in the hilly regions in the western part of the Dadu and Larkana deserts (Baluchistan) and extended 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 in 1986 as rare (CITES 2000).

In Sri Lanka, this species is locally found throughout the lowlands, up to 1,100 m asl in hill regions, coinciding with the range of termites (Phillips 1981; WCMC et al. 1999).
Bangladesh; India; Pakistan; Sri Lanka
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 pangolins. These species are rarely observed due to their secretive, solitary, and nocturnal habits, and there is not enough research on population densities or global population (WCMC et al. 1999; CITES 2000).

This species is thought to occur in small numbers in Bangladesh, where this species was described as rare in 1986 (Khan 1985). In India, the overall status the species is not well known (Tikader 1983). This species was relatively uncommon in Pakistan (Roberts 1977). It is reportedly of variable abundance in Sri Lanka, but nowhere common (Phillips 1981). Overall, the species is thought to be in significant decline due to hunting for food and medicine.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: There is little known about the natural history of this species, but records are from various types of tropical forests, open land, grasslands, in addition to in close proximity to villages (Zoological Survey of India, 1994). The species is thought to adapt well to modified habitats, provided their termites and ants that are their primary food source remains abundant and they are not hunted. The species is a specialist feeder on termites and ants (Prater 1971; Roberts 1977; Tikader 1983). It is generally solitary and nocturnal (Roberts, 1977). Animals live in burrows often under large rocks, with the entrance to the burrow often hidden with dirt (Roberts, 1977). Females usually give birth to one young, although twins are apparently not unknown, with a gestation length of 65-70 days (CITES 2000). Longevity in the wild is unknown, although the record longevity in captivity is 13 years 2 months (Jones, 1982).

This species is nocturnal, and solitary, except during mating season, when adult males and females share the same burrow. The species is mainly terrestrial, but in some habitats is arboreal, using its prehensile tail and claws to climb trees.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species can adapt to modified habitats, although a large proportion of its range has high human population density. The principal factor affecting the species is exploitation, largely for meat and for medicinal purposes, with the scales thought to have aphrodisiac properties. Trade in Manis crassicaudata parts appears to be mostly at a subsistence or local level, with little international trade currently reported. Records of trade in this species outside of the confirmed range states are presumed to be misidentifications of other Manis species (CITES 2000).

Throughout Asia, pangolin meat is highly favoured as a local source of food. In addition, pangolin skins are used to manufacture leather goods such as boots and shoes. Scales are used whole, or in powdered form, in preparing traditional medicines. In Bangladesh, the species is regularly collected in hill forest areas for the scales and as a source of meat, and possibly disappeared in many parts of Bangladesh due, in a large part, to hunting (Khan 1985; CITES 2000).

There is limited evidence of trade, either legal or illegal, in Manis crassicaudata, but very little is known about its status across its range, its life history, or how well it adapts to human threats (CITES 2000). There is evidence that the species is being severely impacted by hunting in India and at the same time its status in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka appears to be decreasing. Given the level of trade that appears to be occurring in other Asian pangolin species (especially Manis javanica and Manis pentadactyla), it is reasonable to assume that as these two species become rarer and more difficult to obtain, that more trade could shift to Manis crassicaudata (CITES 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II. A zero annual export quota has been established for specimens removed from the wild and traded for primarily commercial purposes. It is protected by national legislation in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This widespread species is present in a number of protected areas. There is a need for further research into current population levels of this species throughout its known range.

In Bangladesh, all pangolins are legally protected.

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 and the North-West Frontier Province Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management) Act, 1975.

Hunting of this speices is prohibited in Sri Lanka (Broad et al. 1988) and Nepal (Gaski and Hemley 1991).

Citation: Molur, S. 2008. Manis crassicaudata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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