Some 10 live critically endangered scaly anteaters (pangolin or balintong) were
seized Friday from a fisherman moonlighting as an illegal wildlife trader in Barangay Liminangcong, Taytay town.
Balintong (Manis culionensis) resembles a reptile with neat scales and no teeth,
and is only found in the Philippine province of Palawan.
It can be found in forests, grassland, and farmlands. Balintong’s population
concentration can be found in the areas of Palawan like Busuanga, Culion, and Calauit but are in danger of extinction because of excessive hunting of people in these areas.
Balintong is often solitary and arboreal. This animal prefers to live above the tree
rather than the ground.
This species lives up to 20 years. Like the anteater, it has a circular body, and a
long snout and tail that is used to handle things.
The body is covered with tapered and dense scales that are brightly colored and
made of keratin. Young Balintong have soft and no bright scales that are hardened
and stiff as they last. The nose, stomach, and stomach are not covered with scales.
It has sharp nails on the leg and long tongue full of sticky and spastic saliva.
It usually weighs 1.8-2.4 kilograms and has length of up to 176 cm.
The common foods are insects like ants and termites. It has a sharp sense of smell
to find the colony of insects. It Used large and sharp nails to destroy the house of
the termites. It will bring out the tongue to catch the food.
When threatened, balintong protects itself as well as the child through rolling like
a ball while holding its child inside the hard scales. It may also release a bad
odor turn off other animals. The well-known opponent of this animal is the python.
Balintong’s meat is a delicacy in Asia, especially in China. While its scales are
used as a component in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia and used
as asthma medicines. Due to the constant hunting of people for its meat and scales, it is listed under the Near Threatened category.
It was thought before that this species is similar to the species Manis javanica.
It was officially recognized that balintong is a new species, with the help of
Gaubert et al. al., in 2005. It is also called a halintong, baléke, and
tanggiling. alarm. Philippine Cultural Education