Odisha launches drive to bust an international smuggling racket of pangolin
The Odisha police has launched a drive to bust an international syndicate that peddles “endangered” pangolin, one of the world’s most illegally traded mammals. Through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), the Odisha police will crack the international pangolin smuggling racket. MLAT is an agreement between nations to exchange information or provide legal assistance for enforcing laws. Pangolins are the only known mammals with large keratin scales and they use those scales to protect themselves from predators in the wild. They are toothless, nocturnal, live in burrows and feed mainly on ants and termites. Of the 8 species found worldwide, two are found in India: Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). Both the species are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Hence, hunting, trade or any other form of utilisation of the species or their body parts and derivatives is banned. Beside this, In the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, Chinese pangolin are listed as “critically endangered” and Indian Pangolin as “endangered”.