A pangolin was found wandering around in the Bahlolpur, Noida area of Gautam Buddha Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh. When the police officials at the Noida Phase 3 police station came to know about the astray animal, they went and rescued it, Indian Express reported. The Pangolin was handed over to the forest officials. According to the police, some people passing by the animal could not recognise it and were bothering the Pangolin, which is why the police removed the anteater from the spot. The police later handed over the pangolin to forest officials.
Pangolins, also known as ‘scaly anteaters’ are shy and harmless but the most-trafficked non-human animal in the world. According to the police, in the illegal market, a pangolin costs an estimated Rs 2-3 crores. They have scales made of Keratin all over their body. Keratin is the same type of protein from which human nails and hairs are made. Ranging in size from a large domestic cat to more than four feet, Pangolins are mostly loners and nocturnals. While most pangolins live on the ground, some are also good at climbing trees. They have long snouts and can release a stinky liquid from their tails to keep predators away. They are toothless and when they feel threatened, they curl into a strong ball.
Of eight total species of the animal, four are found in Asia — Indian, Chinese, Philippine and Sunda. Because of their pervasive illegal trade, Pangolins are marked as critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Illegally traded pangolins are used for their meat, which is considered a delicacy among wealthy Asians, and their scales, which are used in Chinese medicines target at issues related to lactation and arthritis. However, their medicinal value is not proved.
After extensive poaching and trafficking has caused huge depletion in Asian pangolins’ population, smugglers have now turned to the african species of the animals.
According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature, about 6,000 pangolins were illegally traded from 2009 to 2017.