The Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha police Crime Branch Saturday rescued two pangolins from Mayurbhanj district and arrested four persons for possessing the animals illegally, police said.
The rare species of pangolins were rescued when the four were in the middle of a deal to sell the animals for Rs 22 lakh, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of STF Mayurbhanj district, Satyajit Naik, said.
Acting on a tip-off, STF personnel carried out a raid at a remote village called Ambadhia, under the jurisdiction of Udala police station, and rescued the pangolins, the police officer said.
They weighed around 13 kg, Naik said.
A case has been registered under various sections of the IPC and under section 5 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
While the Chinese pangolin, mostly found in northeast India, has been listed as “critically endangered” by the UN affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, the Indian pangolin has been listed as “endangered”, the police officer said.
Pangolins are often termed as the world’s most trafficked mammal.
Pangolin scales are used in traditional Asian medicine, particularly in China and Vietnam.
The animal’s scales are made of keratin, the same material that makes human fingernails and hair, and they have no proven medicinal value.
Pangolin meat is also considered to be a delicacy in some countries, and the scales are also used as jewellery and decorations for rituals.