World Pangolin Day Date in the current year: February 17, 2024

World Pangolin Day World Pangolin Day is observed annually on the third Saturday of February. It was created to raise public awareness of the endangered status of pangolins, who are threatened by poaching and deforestation of their natural habitats.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are mammals of the order Pholidota that comprises eight species, four of which are found in Asia and the other four are found in sub-Saharan Africa. Although pangolins resemble anteaters and armadillos, their physical resemblance is due to the same diet that consists of mainly ants and termites, and not because these animals are related.

Most pangolins are nocturnal animals; they have poor vision, but a well-developed sense of smell. Arboreal pangolins live in hollow trees, whereas ground-dwelling pangolins dig burrows that can be over 11 feet deep. Pangolins mostly eat various species of ants and termites, sometimes supplementing their diet by other insects. Although pangolins usually have many species of insects available to them, they prefer to consume only one or two of them.

One of the most remarkable things about pangolins is their large keratin scales that overlap like roof shingles, making their bodies resemble pine cones. When threatened, pangolins curl up into a boll, and their hard and sharp scales act as armor, protecting them from predators. In addition, they can emit a liquid with a strong, unpleasant smell from their anal glands to scare predators away.

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammals in the world due to the high demand for their scales, which are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are also poached for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some parts of Africa and Asia. The scale of pangolin trafficking is astonishing; according to experts, they account for about 20% of illegal wildlife trade.

As of January 2020, all eight species of pangolin are classified as threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. The Philippine pangolin, the Chinese pangolin and the Sunda pangolin are critically endangered; the tree pangolin, the Indian pangolin and the giant pangolin are endangered; the long-tailed pangolin and the ground pangolin are vulnerable.

World Pangolin Day was inaugurated in 2012 to raise public awareness of pangolin trafficking and its devastating impact on the pangolin population. Since 2015, it has been promoted by Annamiticus, a non-profit organization working to protect imperiled species that also organizes World Rhino Day and World Jaguar Day. Although all trade in pangolin was banned in 2017, illegal trade still thrives, so awareness campaigns are still necessary.

You can participate in World Pangolin Day by drawing attention to the plight of pangolins in any way you can. For example, you can share information about pangolins on your social media using the hashtag #WorldPangolinDay, donate to animal welfare organizations which are working to protect pangolin, hold a World Pangolin Day event in your city, etc.

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World Pangolin Day, international observances, ecological observances, trafficking in pangolin, endangered species