Thane: Forestry officials on Saturday – which also happened to be World Pangolin Day – released an Indian pangolin into its natural habitat after rescuing it from an illegal wildlife trade.
According to wildlife officials, on February 16, Turbhe Police intercepted a car near Shiravane MIDC, after conducting a search they found a live Indian pangolin stuffed into the black cloth bag. Police immediately arrested four defendants, from Ratnagiri district and recorded offenses under the relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Although this pangolin was lucky enough to live, many in the same situation do not survive. They are captured and sold for their scales and meat, which many believe have medicinal properties and for this reason the rampant trade in this species is pushing pangolins towards extinction.
Aditya Patil, Chairman of the Wildlife Welfare Association (WWA) said: “The police informed the WWA and the Thane Forest Department of the development. Upon arriving there, we found that the pangolin was completely dehydrated and traumatized from captivity and stressed from travel. We took the animal to a local clinic, where he was given fluids for hydration. After a while he started to show improvement and agreed to feed on mealworms.
Patil further informed, “The pangolin was kept under observation for two days to stabilize and show signs of improvement and increased activity. After completing the final round of health checks on Saturday, the pangolin was released to a secure location in the presence of forest officers and police.
Animal rights activists insist on the need to aggressively educate people about the illegal pangolin trade, especially the tribals/farmers who share their landscape with them.
An officer from the Thane Forest Department said: “Thanks to the vigilance of the police, the pangolin was rescued in time. Forestry officers and WWA members also managed to watch over his health. We are happy to have been able to release the pangolin on the special occasion of World Pangolin Day.