Pangolin Skin Worth Rs 30 Lakh Seized In Mumbai, How The Animal Became World's Most-Trafficked
In a major crackdown against the rampant illegal wildlife trafficking, Police in Mumbai have seized nearly 30 kgs of pangolin skin valued at Rs 30 lakh.
One person, identified as Ram Waghmare, a resident of Kolal village in Raigad district, was arrested by the police on Thursday for illegally possessing the skin.
According to the police, the 27-year-old was nabbed from suburban Andheri based on credible information that he was travelling with pangolin skin.
Hunting pangolins is illegal
In India, pangolins are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and their hunting, trade, or any other form of utilisation is illegal.
The Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), also called thick-tailed Pangolin and scaly anteater is a solitary, shy, slow-moving, nocturnal mammal.
How Indian pangolins became endangered
Indian Pangolin has been listed in the Endangered category in the red list of animals published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Years of illegal hunting and trafficking for their meat and scales have driven pangolins to near extinction.
According to some estimates, an Indian pangolin can cost as much as Rs 10-12 lakhs in the international wildlife trade.
The scales of the Indian Pangolin are estimated to cost over Rs 1 lakh per kg in the illicit international market.
Why pangolins are trafficked to China
Pangolin is said to be the most-trafficked animal and most of these end up in China and Vietnam.
While pangolin meat is a delicacy in China and Vietnam, its scales are used in some traditional Chinese medicines. It is typically dried and ground into powder, then turned into a pill form.
In Vietnam and some African countries, Pangolin scales are used in traditional rituals and are believed to bring good fortune.
Pangolin trafficking in India
On February 18, celebrated as World Pangolin Day, World Wide Fund for Nature, India (WWF India) and TRAFFIC, an NGO monitoring illicit global wildlife trade, released a report on how rampant pangolin trafficking in India still is.
The report, titled “India’s pangolin buried in illegal wildlife trade”, said that 1,203 pangolins (both live and dead) were seized in 342 incidents in India between 2018 and 2022.
Over 880 kg of pangolin derivatives and 199 live pangolins were reported in the 342 seizure incidents.
Twenty-four states and one Union Territory reported seizures of pangolins and their derivatives from 2018-2022 in India, according to the latest Factsheet.
Odisha reported the highest number of seizure incidences involving the largest number of pangolins in the illegal wildlife trade (154 pangolins in 74 seizures).
It was followed by Maharashtra (47 seizure incidents and 135 pangolins).
The report also stated that the figures are based on those seized by authorities; the actual number of pangolins trafficked from India is much higher.
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