Six persons, including a woman, were arrested for allegedly smuggling pangolins in Kolkata on Saturday.
In a joint operation on August 6, officials of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the West Bengal Forest Department had rescued two live pangolins from a house in Bhowanipore.
Investigation in the case revealed that the suppliers had transported the animals from Durgapur to Kolkata.
Those arrested have been identified as Partha Das, Joylal Golder, Suprio Majhi, Sahanaj Molla, Sayed Abibul Hossen and Krishna Das.
The vehicle that was used to transport the pangolins from Durgapur to Kolkata was also seized.
In 2018, a study by TRAFFIC India had found that nearly 6,000 pangolins were illegally traded in the country between 2009 and 2017 — an average of 650 pangolins every year.
Between November 2018 and January 2019, at least five cases of smuggling of pangolins were reported from the eastern States of West Bengal and Assam.
On transit route
Kolkata serves as a transit route for smuggling the animals due to its proximity to several countries in South East Asia. In June this year, a lion cub and three rare langurs were recovered from the Belgharia Expressway in Kolkata.