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Pangolin now �most illegally traded mammal of the world�

By SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, Oct 12 - In a development that lays bare the rampant illegal trade in wildlife in the North East, the pangolin, which is found in the region besides some other parts of the country, has been ranked as the �most illegally traded mammal of the world�.

Conservationists have, in view of the seriousness of the situation, called for equating illegal trade in pangolin parts with that of rhino horn by enforcement authorities and NGOs, as the extent of illegal trade in pangolins can drive them to extinction in India.

The recently-concluded 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP 17) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided that the most illegally traded mammal in the world urgently needs protection from further over-exploitation. Consequently, all the eight pangolin species are being transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I - thus prohibiting any international commercial trade in pangolin parts.

Hailing the CITES move, Dr MK Ranjitsinh, Chairman Emeritus of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), who had lobbied on behalf of Asian pangolin species as Chairperson of the CITES Standing Committee in the 1980s, said that it is better late than never, but �CITES is not enough. Illegal trade in pangolin parts must now be considered on par with rhino horn by enforcement authorities and NGOs�.

Pangolins are small to medium size, scale-covered mammals found throughout parts of Asia and Africa. There are a total of eight species, four in Asia � of which the Indian pangolin and the Chinese pangolin are found in India � and four in Africa. They are particularly sensitive to over-exploitation because their reproduction rate is very low. Furthermore, their primary predator defence of rolling into an impenetrable ball makes them an easy catch for poachers.

Pangolin scales are used in traditional Asian medicine and their meat is a highly valued delicacy. Over a million pangolins have been taken from the wild and illegally traded in the past decade. As population have dwindled in China and Vietnam, poachers have turned to other parts of South East Asia and India, and are increasingly sourcing animals from the African species.

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Pangolin now �most illegally traded mammal of the world�

GUWAHATI, Oct 12 - In a development that lays bare the rampant illegal trade in wildlife in the North East, the pangolin, which is found in the region besides some other parts of the country, has been ranked as the �most illegally traded mammal of the world�.

Conservationists have, in view of the seriousness of the situation, called for equating illegal trade in pangolin parts with that of rhino horn by enforcement authorities and NGOs, as the extent of illegal trade in pangolins can drive them to extinction in India.

The recently-concluded 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP 17) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided that the most illegally traded mammal in the world urgently needs protection from further over-exploitation. Consequently, all the eight pangolin species are being transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I - thus prohibiting any international commercial trade in pangolin parts.

Hailing the CITES move, Dr MK Ranjitsinh, Chairman Emeritus of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), who had lobbied on behalf of Asian pangolin species as Chairperson of the CITES Standing Committee in the 1980s, said that it is better late than never, but �CITES is not enough. Illegal trade in pangolin parts must now be considered on par with rhino horn by enforcement authorities and NGOs�.

Pangolins are small to medium size, scale-covered mammals found throughout parts of Asia and Africa. There are a total of eight species, four in Asia � of which the Indian pangolin and the Chinese pangolin are found in India � and four in Africa. They are particularly sensitive to over-exploitation because their reproduction rate is very low. Furthermore, their primary predator defence of rolling into an impenetrable ball makes them an easy catch for poachers.

Pangolin scales are used in traditional Asian medicine and their meat is a highly valued delicacy. Over a million pangolins have been taken from the wild and illegally traded in the past decade. As population have dwindled in China and Vietnam, poachers have turned to other parts of South East Asia and India, and are increasingly sourcing animals from the African species.