Millennium Post

Forest task force nabs five for trying to smuggle dead pangolin

Darjeeling: Foresters of a special task force led by Sanjay Dutta, range officer, Belakoba Range, arrested 5 persons from Sikkim and recovered a dead pangolin from their possession. The pangolin was being smuggled to Bhutan.

"We had got a tip that some wild animal was being taken to Bhutan from Sikkim. We waited at the Bengal-Sikkim border," said Dutta.

At around 4 am, a Sikkim vehicle was intercepted after it crossed the Kalijhora bridge. 5 persons were in the vehicle. "We conducted a search and recovered a jute bag. In the jute bag was a dead pangolin covered with leafy vegetable," Dutta said.

The five arrested all hail from Sikkim. They are Gopala Dorji, Arjun Rai, Kamal Sundas, Santosh Kumar Byahut and Unesh Subba. "One of the arrested is studying civil engineering while the other four are contractors. They had killed the pangolin and was smuggling the carcass to Bhutan. From Bhutan, it would have been taken to China," the range officer said.

He stated that the five were being interrogated. Pangolin scales and meat fetch a good amount. "The pangolin weighed seven and a half kilos. They were to sell the meat and scales at a cost of Rs 70,000 per kilo. We will produce the arrested at court on Wednesday," added Dutta.

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