A team of Kanha Tiger Reserve officials has arrested a wildlife smuggler with 2 kg Pangolin scales in Balaghat district.
Field director of the reserve, Sanjay Shukla, told HT that a trap was laid to nab the smuggler from Khatangi range in Balaghat district, over 60 kms from the Kanha Tiger Reserve, on Saturday night.
The accused has been identified as Sanjay Binake, a resident of Tikade village in Balaghat district. “Preliminary investigation has revealed that Binake had plans to handover the scales to someone in Maharashtra. We will interrogate him to get further leads on the network of Pangolin smugglers in the state”, he said.
This is the second instance in MP when a Pangolin smuggler has been caught with scales. In June, forest officials caught two persons with Pangolin meat and scales in Karai village on the border of Pench Tiger reserve.
Pangolin, also called anteater (Manis crassicaudata), is listed in the schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The demand for pangolins is high in countries like China and Vietnam. Their meat is considered a delicacy and scales are used in traditional medicine. Two species of Pangolins are found in India — the bigger Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and smaller Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).
Till October this year, 113 people have been arrested by forest department’s Special Task Force (STF) across ten states in India, busting the many-layered poaching racket which sources pangolins from MP and smuggles them into China through North East and Myanmar.