Wildlife traffickers apprehended in Jaintia Hills, pangolins seized

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Image Credit: WWFIndia

NET News Desk

Acting on a tip-off the Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division has apprehended wildlife traffickers who were in possession of a pregnant Pangolin and Pangolin scales, informed a press statement issued on behalf of James K Sangma, Forest and Environment Minister, Government of Meghalaya.

“We have recently identified and arrested wildlife traffickers in Jaintia Hills who had in their possession a pregnant Indian Pangolin and Pangolin scales. The traffickers were caught in possession of the consignment near the Assam border where our vigilant Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division officials received a tip-off and immediately acted on it to nab the traffickers.

The interstate trafficking of wildlife came to light on November 11 when the three traffickers who were engaged in the smuggling of the pangolins were arrested. As per local reports, the Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division swung into action on receiving inputs of the movement of an organized gang of traffickers along the border areas of West Jaintia Hills- West Karbi Anglong. The traffickers were actively engaged in poaching and trafficking of wild animals and their body parts.

As reported in the web portal, Syllad, a team of officials from the Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division led by the Divisional Forest Officer laid a trap at Khanduli village to intercept the traffickers. A team of police officials was also present at the Khanduli to assist the forest officials. On search, a live Indian Pangolin and 1.20 Kg Pangolin scales were found in the car. All three persons were arrested and were brought to Jowai. On interrogation, these persons divulged that the live Pangolin and Pangolin scales were purchased from a person in Hamren in West Karbi Anglong District.

Reportedly, on November 12 the accused were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jowai Court. The accused were sent to judicial custody and the court allowed the Divisional Forest Officer to conduct the interrogation.

Moreover, further investigations are being carried out to identify and bust the chain of illegal trafficking and other illegal activities such as capturing, hunting, transportation and purchase of wild animals and their body parts.

The Indian Pangolin is an animal under the Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. Hunting or harming such an animal will attract serious criminal sanctions which may result in jail for up to seven years and a fine of up to twenty-five thousand rupees.

“Our state is naturally blessed with flora and fauna and hence we take such incidents extremely seriously. We have commended the efforts of the forest officials and asked them to maintain the highest vigilance to track down any such traffickers and take the strictest of legal actions against them, we remain committed to not only protecting our beautiful state but also cracking down heavily on any person who engages in disrupting our environmental harmony,” said the statement issued by the State Forest and Environment Ministry.

 

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