|1,000 pangolins hunted in 2 months
Sunday, August 15, 2010
14: The pangolin has become a hot favourite with wildlife traders in
the region as it is believed their scales have medicinal properties
that can cure arthritis, fever, venereal diseases and skin disorders.
Only a week ago the police busted a poachers gang in Kamalapur village
near Hampi and arrested seven men with 2.5 kg of pangolin scales,
clearly meant for the international market where there is a huge demand
Honorary wildlife warden, Bellary district Santosh
Martin, says the demand for pangolin scales and monetary lizards has
shot up in the international market because of their alleged medicinal
value. Around 1,000 pangolins have been hunted in the last two months
alone in the region, he says, explaining that the poachers get 2 kg of
scales from each of the animals. which they proceed to sell for over Rs
70,000 a kg.
“Around 2000 kg of pangolin scales worth around Rs
14 crore is learnt to have been sold to traders abroad particularly in
China and Korea over the last couple of months,” Mr Martin adds. Lured
by the big money involved, many local hunters and trappers use snares
and dogs to trap the pangolins and sell them to traders in Bengaluru,
Delhi and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh and they in turn tap buyers in
the international market.
A complete ban on international
pangolin trade was imposed in 2000 by parties to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, but
this does not deter the poachers who find ways to beat it. Besides the
pangolin, poachers also trade in the Indian Sand Boa (two-headed snake)
and star tortoise found in the shrub jungles of Sandur, Daroji,
Kamalapur, Hampi-Anegundi and Gangavati forest belt.