Baghmara, October 20: The South Garo Hills (SGH) District Police on Sunday rescued an endangered pangolin (anteater) and arrested five suspected wildlife smugglers, a top district police officer said. Pangolins or scaly anteaters have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin and are the only known mammals with this feature. The species now fall under the endangered list.
The officer said a police naka (checkpoint) instructed a driver of a vehicle to stop for checking but he tried to speed away. The vehicle was stopped at Rongkandi village in Meghalaya’s South Garo Hills district. On checking of the vehicle the pangolin (locally known as Kawate) was found, the officer said.
“The vehicle along with the five occupants, suspected to be poachers were handed over to the Wild Life department for further necessary action. The pangolin was handed over to them as well,” said Superintendent of Police Abraham T Sangma. Police suspect the arrested persons to be members of a criminal gang involved in theft and sale of such exotic animals, the meat of which are delicacies in countries like China. (PTI)