The Madhya Pradesh forest department’s special task force (STF), which arrested a foreign woman poacher having links with an international pangolin poaching racket, called in a translator from Manipur who speaks Paite language as they had failed to interrogate the accused woman over the last one week.
The STF team arrested Lya Goddin, accused of being involved in smuggling of pangolins to China, after a month-long operation. The STF wanted to question the woman to expose another layer of a poaching racket across the border.
Goddin, hailing from Myanmar, was arrested last week from Mizoram and was brought on transit remand to MP. She was produced before the Chhindwara court on Wednesday.
“The translator helped us during her interrogation. We are not revealing the name of the translator for security reasons. He helped us and we have sent him back,” said a source in STF.
The source said the woman used to buy a kilogram of pangolin scales at an average rate of around Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 and then sell the same across the border to poachers at around Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh per kg.
“She smuggled the scales across the border and then sold them to poachers in Myanmar, from where the scales were smuggled into China,” the STF source added.
In September, 2014, cases of pangolin poaching came to light in Balaghat and Chhindwara districts of the state. Following this, the state forest department constituted a team of STF to investigate the matter and busted a Pangolin poaching racket.
The STF started unraveling various layers of the poaching network. This was the 94th arrest by the STF in India.
Pangolin, also called scaly anteater (Manis crassicaudata), is listed in the schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, according it the highest conservation status.
It is killed by poachers as it is in high demand in countries like China, where its body parts are valued as medicine and aphrodisiac. In MP, pangolins are primarily found in Balaghat, Hoshangabad, Chhindwara and Seoni districts.