Another pangolin rescued in Navi Mumbai; three arrested

In the third such case in Navi Mumbai in the past two weeks, an Indian pangolin was rescued and three people were arrested by the Vashi police on Wednesday in a joint operation with the Thane forest department and Resquink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).

An informer of RAWW, an NGO promoting urban wildlife conservation, noticed three poachers taking the pangolin in a car and alerted the Vashi police at 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“We learnt about the animal being smuggled in a car coming from Palm Beach towards Sector 17 in Vashi. We laid a trap opposite Citibank in Vashi around 2.30 a.m. and intercepted the car. We found the mammal hidden in a plastic sack inside,” senior police inspector Sanjeev Dhumal said.

The three men in the vehicle were Krishna Padmakumar Chaughule (30), Nana Lakshman Waghmare (39) and Mangesh Yashwant Waghmare (25), all residents of Roha in Raigad district. They planned to sell the animal for ₹4 lakh. “We are yet to find out from where the three got the pangolin,” Mr. Dhumal said. The accused have been remanded in police custody till Saturday.

Last week, in separate incidents, the Khandeshwar police had arrested one person and the Kalamboli police seven people for smuggling pangolins to Navi Mumbai. In both cases, the police have found that the mammals were caught by an Adivasi in Ratnagiri.

The pangolin seized on Wednesday was handed over to RAWW for medical examination and further care. “It was completely dehydrated and traumatised due to travel and captivity stress, and had minor injuries,” Pawan Sharma, founder and president, RAWW, said.

The animal was treated by veterinary doctors and the RAWW team. Its X-rays and cytology tests were normal. The animal was taken to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Thursday for natural feeding. “The animal is active and behaving normally, indicating it is fit to be released into its natural habitat. A microchip will be inserted in the animal, after which it will be ready to be released,” Mr. Sharma said.

Pangolins are one of the most endangered and threatened species, with highest level of protection status, in India, and are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 6:46:12 PM |

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