TN, AP poachers hunt for pangolins in Karnataka; scales used in medicine | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: After Manipur and Tamil Nadu, inter-state poachers are eyeing pangolins in Karnataka for their scales which are much sought after for Chinese medicine.
In a major crackdown, forest officials in Chikkamagaluru district busted a pangolin trade racket and seized 6kg of its scales. Officials said it is just the tip of the iceberg as poaching of this endangered mammal is rampant. They said pangolins were brought from Muthodi forest area, Belur range, and Kalasapura.
Wildlife experts said pangolin poaching is more common in Chikkamagaluru and Ballari districts. Poachers from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu lure locals with good money to hunt down the animal.
Pangolin is the world’s most-trafficked mammal even though its hunting and trade are banned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
In recent cases reported in Karnataka, poachers caught pangolins after ‘detecting in them rich minerals that are used in the manufacture of satellites’, said sources.
N H Jagannatha, deputy conservator of forests, Chikkamagaluru, said the recent seizure could be a lead to an inter-state and international poaching market. “We were told that pangolin scales had changed hands and it was believed that they would bring prosperity and could be used as medicines. They are also hunted for their meat.” Their scales are in high demand in China and Vietnam.
Retired sub-inspector Rama Murthy MS, who worked with the CID forest cell for 24 years, said it is not easy to get to the roots of the trade. “Many a time, we found pangolins were trafficked to other countries as well.”
According to Traffic, an NGO which works on wildlife trafficking, 5,772 pangolins were seized during 2009-2017, most of them in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

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Sagar Biswas

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