[Video] Assam: Killed For Flesh & Scales, Poaching Of Endangered Pangolins Continues Unabated
On December 4, while the world celebrates Wildlife Conservation Day to protect animals & wildlife, a heartbreaking video of a Pangolin being killed in Assam was released by World Animal Protection and Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford (WildCRU). Following the revelation, animal protection bodies asked the Centre to take strict actions to stop the menace.
Brutally killed for its body parts
The video was captured by a researcher and it showed violent hunters tugging out a terrified Pangolin from a hollowed-out tree.
In the video, the hunters can be seen trying tried to use an axe to cut down the tree and pull out the Pangolin. When it didn't work out, they lit a fire to suffocate the animal, and when the poor creature tried to escape, it was captured. It was then thrashed repeatedly until it could not move and boiled where its painful struggle met with an end. Later later it was bagged and was taken to be sold, reported CNN.
Reportedly, pangolins are the world's most trafficked mammal. Their body parts fetch large sums of money as the meat is considered a delicacy and scales are used in traditional medicine. The medical practitioners believe that it can improve blood circulation, treat infertility and impotence and cure skin infections, however, there is no evidence of its medicinal use.
The video was a part of a two-year investigation by the researchers of (WildCRU) which revealed that the poorest hunters in Assam could earn an entire year's salary for a single Pangolin. The survey involved interviews of 141 people from 31 villages over a period of 10 months. The report says that most of the hunters confirmed that Pangolins are hunted for both personal and commercial use.
"Scales from just one pangolin can offer a life-changing sum of money for people in these communities" But it's in no way sustainable and the numbers of pangolins in the wild are beginning to plummet", David Macdonald, professor of wildlife conservation at Oxford University, said in a press release, reported CNN.
Selling Pangolins for commercial purpose in India is an unlawful act under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. In 2016, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) issued a worldwide ban on Pangolin commercial trade.
According to the Ecologists report, despite various measures taken globally, around 5,772 Pangolins were seized in India between 2009 and 2017, as per TRAFFIC, an NGO working on wildlife trade. Reportedly, more than a million Pangolins are believed to be killed and traded between 2000 and 2013, mainly to the Asian countries for medicinal purpose.
All eight species of Pangolin living in 51 countries of Asia and Africa are on the brink of extinction, thanks to illegal poaching, says the report.
"Pangolins are at real risk of becoming extinct — the demand for their meat and unique scales for traditional medicine is well documented," reported CNN as Kate Nustedt, director of WPA saying.
The Logical Indian Take
To protect pangolins from unutterable abuse and sufferings and to save them for getting extinct, what we need is vigorous enforcement of laws on both, national and international level. Also, we need today is awareness programs and proper communication between the government and the communities.
Nagesh Hegde, author-environmentalist told The Logical Indian that Pangolins are hunted usually by the people of the poor rural communities where most of them are unaware that they are messing with India's beautiful wildlife. "we need to create awareness to reach in every nook and cranny of world, also, through 'artificial breeding' or 'cloning', we can save these creatures from getting extinct", he adds.