For Sri Lanka’s pangolins, forests are ideal — but rubber farms will do too

For Sri Lanka’s pangolins, forests are ideal — but rubber farms will do too

COLOMBO — A big part of conserving any wildlife species is to conserve its natural habitat. But when that becomes an increasingly difficult task due to human-driven changes in those environments, the next best thing to do is to hold on to those altered habitats. That’s the surprise finding from a new study on the Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), one of eight species of scaly anteater that’s the most trafficked mammal on Earth. The study, set for publication in the March issue of the journal Global Ecology and Conservation, looks at the feeding habits of Indian pangolins in southwest Sri Lanka. It sheds new light on the species’ dietary composition, and can help better inform pangolin rescue and breeding programs, the authors write. “Our previous work has highlighted that though there is an increase in rescue programs in pangolin abundant areas, there was limited success due to poor availability of literature on their diet, ecology and behavior,” co-author Priyan Perera, from the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and a member of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, told Mongabay. “There is a dearth of knowledge which we have tried to bridge with a series of studies.” Perera has been studying the Indian pangolin since 2013, identifying evolving threats to this elusive and endangered creature. In a 2017 study he reviewed the existing knowledge, threats and research priorities, and in a follow-up study in 2018 looked at pangolins’ habitat preference in southern Sri Lanka.…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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