Himachal police arrest taxi driver with pangolin scales
The Hamirpur police in Himachal Pradesh have arrested a taxi driver for possessing over 4kg pangolin scales.
The accused has been identified as Sunil, a resident of Kotlu village in Bhoranj tehsil. Hamirpur superintendent of police Karthikeyan Gokulachandran said they had got a tip-off that some person was selling pangolin scales on online portal.
Consequently, a police team set up a naka at Jhiralri village on Monday and intercepted a car going from Bhota towards Una.
“The car driver was jittery after seeing the police which raised the suspicion. Upon checking the police recovered 4.424kg pangolin scales kept in a gunny bag in the vehicle,” he added.
Gokulchandran said the accused has been booked under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act and was being interrogated in police custody.
He said the cost of pangolin scales is estimated to be more than $3,000/kg in the international market.
Pangolins are killed for meat and traditional medicine.
Demand for pangolin scales is mainly in China and Vietnam where they are used to make medicine for variety of ailments.
Pangolin scales are made of keratin, the same material that makes up fingernails, hair, and horn.
There are eight species of pangolins. Four species are found in Asia and rest four in Sub-Saharan Africa. All eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws, and two are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The anteater species mostly live on land while black bellied pangolin also climbs trees.
They range in size from a large housecat to more than four-feet long. They are largely covered scales and roll into a ball when threatened.