Published On: Wed, Aug 26th, 2015

Climate change: Pangolins turn to urban areas in search of food

Wherever climate changes take place, they affect the region’s population, as well as its wildlife. This summer, Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis, suffered extremely from heat wave – temperatures unexpectedly rose up to 46 degrees in the month of June. While reports suggest almost 2,000 people died as a result, the increase in temperatures also affected the city’s wildlife. While their habitat was affected, sources of food also declined.


Shaukat Korai

KARACHI: Last week I saw a photo on Facebook of a person in Mirpurkhas, Sindh who had hunted an anteater, also known as pangolin. Since finding and hunting a pangolin is considered to be a difficult task, a lot of people could be seen surrounding him in the picture. He was acting like a proud hunter.
Intrigued about the animal, I asked my friend and senior environmental journalist to enlighten me about the wild animal.

“It’s an ant eater and lives in forests but due to deforestation and desertification because of climate changes, it has turned towards the cities in search of food,” he told me.

Pangolins are covered in tough, overlapping scales, and use their keen sense of smell to locate termite and ant nests. They dig the insects from mounds using their claws and eat them with their extremely long tongue (which can be up to 16 inches). Large salivary glands coat the tongue with gummy mucus to which ants and termites stick.

As climate change has severely affected the environment, all living things are suffering the consequences.
Pangolins lost their habitat and have come towards populated areas. This ant eater is an endangered animal in Pakistan, and its skin is used for making bullet proof jackets, among other things.

I remember during my childhood I was told by my mother that such ‘dangerous animal’ was seen by the people in the village and asked me not to go outside alone. Fortunately, I never encountered a Pangolin in my life.

People in Pakistan know pangolins only as a harmful animals, and are unaware that is also saves their crops and plants from insect pests – they are natural pest controllers. One pangolin can consume an estimated 70 million insects per year. If pangolins disappear, you would need to increase the use of pesticides in order to control the insect population, which could have adverse affects on the environment.

It is a dire need for people to be educated about rare animals such as pangolins. In developed countries, subjects such as climate change, wildlife and endangered animals, among others are a part of the school curriculum such that the younger generation could act accordingly.

While I don’t know what happened with that hunted Pangolin in Mirpurkhas. Probably the police and the people encouraged the man to hunt such animals more. This is precisely the problem with our country.

About the Author


Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Connect with us on social networks
Recommend on Google

Visit us on Google+