February 15: World Pangolin Day; GoI radio tagged Pangolins first time to learn their Ecology

Every year the third Saturday of February month is celebrated as World Pangolin Day. The ninth World Pangolin Day is being celebrated on February 15, 2020. The numbers of Pangolin is rapidly declining in Asia and Africa. This is mainly because Pangolin scales are rich in medicinal properties. Recently, China had found that Pangolin scales can be used to treat Corona Virus infections.

As Pangolins numbers are declining greatly, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has radio-tagged Indian Pangolins for the first time to learn their ecology.

Highlights

The World Pangolin Day is marked by several organizations all over the world including United Nations Environment Programme.

Significance

They are hunted for their medicinal benefits and culinary delicacy. In December 2019, Xinhua news agency (China) reported the seizure of more than 10 tonnes of Pangolin scales by the Chinese customs in the eastern Chinese city Wenzhou. This on one hand proves that there is still quite good population of Pangolins in the world and on the other hand provides the message that they are still endangered.

Scales of Pangolins

The pangolins use their scales to protect themselves from big carnivores such as tigers and lions. They curl into a ball when they are being attacked. These scales are now in huge demand in China as they are used in traditional medicines.

Protection

Pangolins are protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). In India they are protected under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. They are listed under Schedule I of the act. The IUCN Red List puts the Indian Pangolin under Endangered category.

India’s Measures

For the first time, the Madhya Pradesh Forest department radio-tagged Indian Pangolin in order to learn its ecology. It is a joint operation of the forest department and the NGO Wildlife Conservation Trust.

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IISS Study: World Defence spending biggest in 10 years

On February 14, the International Institute of Strategic Studies released its report on Defence Spending all over the world. The report was titled “Military Balance”. According to the report, the global spending rose by 4% in 2019. This is the largest growth in 10 years.

Highlights

The report also says that the Defence race between China and US has increasing alarmingly. The Military Modernization Programme in China has led to developing new hard to detect Hypersonic missiles. This has kindled US to spend alarmingly towards its Defence Programmes. In 2018-19 the United States has spent 53.4 billion USD towards its Defence Programmes.

Relative Spending

Out of all the countries, China and US has increased the spending by 6.6%. The Europe spending has increased by 4.2%. This is the first time Europe has seen increased levels of spending since financial crisis in 2008.

NATO members

US is constantly complaining that the NATO members are not contributing enough towards Defence spending. US had earlier accused Germany for not living up to the 2014 NATO pledge. According to the NATO pledge the member nation should contribute 2% of its GDP to Defence.

International Institute for Strategic Studies

The IISS is a British Research Institute that was established in 1997. The IISS was ranked the 10th best institute in the world by the Global Go To Think Tank Index. It is also the second best Defence and National Security think tank globally.

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