PASIGHAT- A rare Chinese pangolin was rescued from a poacher by vigilant farmers of Silluk village, located under the East Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday. The animal was later safely released back into the wild in the presence of the Forest Department.
Listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List, the Chinese pangolin is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
On Thursday morning, a group of farmers acted swiftly to intercept a poacher who was caught attempting to extract a pangolin from its burrow near a freshly harvested paddy field in Silluk village.
Although the poacher managed to escape further questioning, the rescued animal, identified as a Chinese pangolin was safely handed over to the forest department by Mr. Kepang Nong Borang, Chairman of Silluk Swachh Abhiyan, a local green squad initiative.
Silluk Swachh Abhiyan (SSA) has been working in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to protect and preserve the natural heritage in the Siang basin.
Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury, Division Head, Wild Rescue and Head Vet NE, WTI said, “Positive change in human attitude and behaviour requires sustained long-term effort, be it for any objective, even more for the conservation of biodiversity of the country.
WTI applauds the proactive actions of the farmers of Silluk village for saving the pangolin from the clutches of the illegal wildlife trade.”
Earlier this month, members of SSA rescued another pangolin near the Mebo Reserve Forest. The pangolin had fallen victim to a dog attack while foraging for food near paddy fields. Recognising the urgency of the situation, Mr. Borang sought assistance from Wildlife Trust of India’s ERN member, Mr. Dhritiman Hazarika.
Following a meticulous medical examination and treatment by Dr. Panjit Basumatary from Wildlife Trust of India, the pangolin was released back into its natural habitat in the presence of senior forest officials from the Pasighat Wildlife Division, Department of Forest, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
The plight of the pangolin remains a poignant reminder of the impact of illegal wildlife trade. As the world’s most trafficked mammal, the pangolin faces a constant threat due to the demand for its scales and skin.
While the scales are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine which are claimed to treat ailments such as heart disease and supposedly have aphrodisiac properties, the skin is used for making leather products. The Pangolin trade is also linked to the narcotics industry as the scales are believed to contain a substance used to make psychotropic drugs.