Pangolin population drops down: Govt starts hunting killers

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Sources confirmed that each scale of Pangolin is sold for Rs 800 to Rs 2,000.
Sources confirmed that each scale of Pangolin is sold for Rs 800 to Rs 2,000.

Bhubaneswar : The wildlife wing of the forest department on Tuesday announced that close to five persons were involved in killing the pangolins whose scales were detained from one accused, Samsuddin Khan on Monday.

Police arrested the accused Khan, a carrier of wildlife parts while he was on his way to Puri carrying five kilograms of pangolin scales. "He told us that the scales had been extracted from the animals at least six months ago. It would have needed at least three or four pangolins to extract five kilogram of scales," said a senior forest officer.

According to the forest officials, the pangolins were killed by tribal men in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Odisha in India. Pangolins are found in the hilly forests of these two districts, besides Koraput and Mayurbhanj. Khan bought the scales from middlemen who, in turn, got them from the poachers.

"The scales are in demand in the international market, especially in China and south-east Asian countries, because of their use in traditional medicine. Khan's work would have ended after delivering the scales to traders in Puri. He couldn't say whether the scales were to be smuggled out of the country," said the senior officer.

Concerning to the increase cases of Pangolin killing, the wildlife department has launched a hunt for the killers of the pangolins. "We know their names and addresses but we can't disclose them now," said divisional forest officer (Mahanadi wildlife division) Anshu Pragyan Das. She said a pangolin lived for around 20 years and produced a single offspring. "

Due to the illegal practices of a few people and other reasons, Pangolin is on the verge of extinction. In the deep forests of the state, they fall prey to tribals who kill them with daggers or collect the scales of pangolins killed by wild animals.

Besides the use in traditional medicine, Pangolin scales used to make different kinds of ornaments.  Sources confirmed that each scale is sold for Rs 800 to Rs 2,000.