A special unit of the Odisha Police has launched a drive to bust an international syndicate that peddles “endangered” pangolin, one of the world’s most illegally traded mammals
A process has been initiated to crack the international pangolin smuggling racket, possibly with the help of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). MLAT is an agreement between nations to exchange information or provide legal assistance for enforcing laws.
Pangolins are smuggled for its scales as it believed that they possess magic or charms and have medicinal properties. The scales serve as a base component for indigenous (traditional) psychotropic substances. China is the main illicit hub (market) for smuggled scales of Pangolins, where they have a huge demand for medicinal and magical purposes.
Pangolin is only scaly mammal on the planet. According to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is also the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia).
Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India. They are Chinese pangolin, mostly found in northeast India and Indian pangolin.
Protection Status: Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered” by UN-affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) has been listed as “endangered” in IUCN Red List. It is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).