In a development that lays bare the rampant illegal trade in wildlife in the Northeast, the pangolin, which is found in the region besides some other parts of the country, has been ranked as the ‘most illegally traded mammal of the world’.
Conservationists have, in view of the seriousness of the situation, called for equating illegal trade in pangolin parts with that of rhino horn by enforcement authorities and NGOs, as the extent of illegal trade can drive them to extinction in India.
Rise in Pangolin Trade
India is, unfortunately, becoming a major supplier of pangolin meat and scales across illegal markets in China, Vietnam and Thailand. There is a great demand for their meat in Southeast Asian countries, where it is a delicacy. Moreover, their blood is believed to have aphrodisiac properties and their scales are used in traditional oriental medicine to ‘cure’ various diseases, including headaches, asthma and certain cancers.
Local trade of the animal’s meat and scales have also been reported in the states of Orissa, Manipur, Tripura, Assam, Nagaland and West Bengal.