4 held for smuggling Pangolin scales
Darjeeling: Three persons from Sikkim and one from Bengal have been arrested by foresters of Baikanthapur Division of North Bengal for smuggling Pangolin scales to Bhutan.
The foresters had received information that Pangolin scales were being smuggled to Bhutan. "From early in the morning we positioned ourselves at Rongpu on the Sikkim-Bengal border. Around 1:45 pm they arrived in a speeding vehicle. We arrested four persons and recovered 2 kg 400 gm of Pangolin skin," said Sanjay Dutta, range officer, Belakoba Range. The four arrested include Kamal Kumar Sinha (70 years) of Yangyang, Dal Bahadur Thapa (65 years) of Gangtok, Passang Tshering Bhutia (43 years) of Yangyang and Wangsten Sherpa
(24 years) of Kalimpong.
The vehicle has also been seized. They were charged under the Wildlife Act and produced at the Jalpaiguri Court.
"During interrogation we found out that around 10 to 12 Pangolins were killed in Sikkim and the scales taken out. The scales were being taken to Bhutan," the ranger said.
The scales are sold at very high cost and used in traditional medicines in some countries like China. Pangolins are endangered animals. The role of certain transporters in Siliguri is also being probed.