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Distribution, abundance and diet of the Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)

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Endangered species often inhabit specific habitats and are dependent on specific prey. The Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) is an “endangered”, inimitable mammal currently in jeopardy in Pakistan. Very little data are available about its ecology that could serve as baseline for its conservation. In the current study, we investigated the Indian pangolin’s distribution, abundance and diet in four districts of Potohar Plateau. The species was found evenly distributed in two study districts, while it showed patchy distribution in the remaining two districts, and it occurred up to a maximum elevation of 862 m a.s.l. Population density showed a sharp and significant decline over a period of three years from 2010 to 2013. Faecal matter of the species was found to contain remains of ants (head, abdominal parts, legs) as the second-most voluminous component of the droppings, following soil or clay. Remains of other food sources, like termites, bugs, wood and grasses, were found in minor percentages. Our study reveals that the main prey items of Indian pangolins include two species of black ants (Camponotus confucii and Camponotus compressus), and one species of termite (Odontotermis obesus). The recorded population decline indicates that conservation measures may be needed.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Wildlife Management, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi 46300, Pakistan; 2: 2Department of Zoology, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi 46300, Pakistan


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