The Kabini Armoured Corps!
Gone are the days of Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and other knights in shining armour. When you think of armour today, the mind can’t go beyond those mainstays of modern armies: Main Battle Tanks! Think WW2, and you think of Panzers steam-rolling Europe; names like Sherman, Patton, Tiger and Centurion roll off the tongue with felicity… but the one armoured vehicle that is least known is the one that hunts down enemies by night in some of the most difficult terrain around. This is the rare Indian Pangolin, or Scaly Anteater of Kabini that lives mostly on ants and termites that it digs up from the earth and logs with its long, powerful claws which are almost as long as its forelegs. For self-defense it’s equipped with large, armoured scales that overlap each other, providing an impenetrable cladding against all foes. In fact, the Pangolin can curl up into an armoured ball when threatened, and frustrate even the fiercest tigers in the vicinity. There is, however, another predator that this anteater fears more than most….and that is Man. The Pangolin has long been prized for his delicate meat and the urban legend surrounding the mystical properties of his skin and scales have created a booming market in trinkets, aphrodisiacs and medicinal oils that threaten to annihilate his numbers. With Pangolin products being such preferred aphrodisiacs, it is a wonder they manage a love life at all. But romance does bloom beneath the scales, and it is quite a sight to see a mother Pangolin carrying the next generation on her tail, curling up into a ball whenever threatened, and protecting the little one inside with the kind of armour an Abrams or T-72 would be proud to boast of.
We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.