Illegal trade of pangolin scales is on rise in Karnataka.
Bengaluru, Dec 7, 2022: Paridhi Jain
Around 1.5 kgs of pangolin scales was seized by the Karnataka Forest department and Wildlife Crime control bureau recently.
Pangolins, considered the most trafficked mammal species globally, are targeted mainly for their meat, and scales and is a schedule 1 species. As per TRAFFIC report 2018, from 2009–2017, 5765 kg of pangolin scales were seized in India.
Vijaykumar Gogi, Principal Chief conservator of forests, says, “We have proper surveillance mechanism for this and 100 anti-poaching camps. These camps are run with local communities, so they inform us of any such incidents. We also have inspection officers, and any such case are registered as per wildlife protection Act of 1972, the proceedings are there before court.”
As per forest department data, in Karnataka, 10 cases have been reported from divisions like ballari, chitradurga, Bengaluru, Koppa between 2018-2021. Aditya Joshi, Head Conservation research, Wildlife conservation Trust (WCT) says, “Once pangolins are confiscated, they are to be released back in the wild and we really don’t know what happens after that, the survival rate is really low.”
According to WCT, the scales are exported to south east Asia to be used in Chinese medicine. The trade has led to at least 90 percent decline in the species in the last three decades.
Anish Andheria, President of WCT says, “Strict vigilance and patrolling needs to be there even in the night by the forest department so the poachers can be tracked and stopped. They need to have intelligence network through which poachers can be tracked. Pangolin traders are not exclusive pangolin traders but are involved in tiger skin and nails.”