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Two arrested for attempting to sell a Pangolin for ₹40 lakh near Mumbai

Illegally sold for meat and body parts believed to have medicinal value, Pangolins are globally endangered mammals and highly protected in India.

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2018 00:48 IST
Arvind Walmiki
Arvind Walmiki
Hindustan Times
A similar incident was reported in 2016, when a Pangolin scale was seized from Dapoli area.(HT file photo)

The Thane crime branch unit-5 on Friday recused an adult Indian pangolin, an endangered mammal, from two people who intended to sell it in the Thane market for Rs40 lakhs. The accused were arrested under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The accused – Ashok Jayram Jadhav,29, and Santosh Mulji Butala,30, are both residents of Ratnagiri and worked as labourers in the Raigad district. A four-wheeler and a weighing scale have been seized from them.

The rescued pangolin was dehydrated and had suffered severe trauma and mild injuries. After receiving medical treatment, the pangolin was stabilised and hydrated.

J Ranaware, senior police inspector from thane crime branch unit -5, said, “We conducted a search operation on Friday, acting on a tip off that a rare animal species was going to be sold in Thane. The accused had captured the mammal from Ratnagiri, and were going to sell it for Rs40 lakh. The animal has a very high value in the international market.”

“The Thane crime branch have done excellent job. Pangolins are endangered globally and a highly protected species in India. They are traded in black market for meat and body parts, which are believed to have high medicinal values. Awareness and concrete action for the conservation of the species is the need of the hour,” said Pawan S Sharma, Wildlife Warden, Thane.

“After the court order, we will release the Pangolin in the forest,” said Maranko, Regional Deputy Director of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) said.

A similar incident was reported in 2016, when a Pangolin scale was seized from Dapoli area, added Maranko. “Due to the increased incidents of smuggling, we have constituted a separate team for such activities and have volunteers in different states to alert us.”

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 00:45 IST