The National Endangered Species Day was celebrated on the 20th of May, 2022. It is a day set apart to hold special events or programs that is tailored towards creating awareness for endangered species. This year being the 17th Annual Endangered Species Day was themed “recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”.

At PCGN, pangolins are what we are all about! Pangolins, being mammals, are distinctively characterized by the presence of scales on their body. They are the most trafficked mammals in the world. There exist 8 extant species of pangolins. Four are endemic to Africa: Black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla), White-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), Giant Ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) and Temminck’s Ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) and the other four to Asia: Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis), Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).

Pangolins inhabit diverse ecosystems including primary and secondary tropical and sub-tropical forests, savanna woodland, grasslands, and artificial landscapes, among others. They are predators of social insects like the ants and termites and so they perform an ecosystem service of regulating insect populations. Can you imagine what would happen if insect population booms out of control?Pangolins are also known to excavate burrows. In so doing, they affect soil processes such as turnover of organic matter and soil aeration. This is why they are also regarded as ecosystem engineers. Save pangolins, save the ecosystem!!