Forest and Environment Minister James Sangma promised tough action against wildlife traffickers operating in Meghalaya.
His emailed statement to the press today came on the back of reports that three suspected traffickers were caught with a live Pangolin and a quantity of Pangolin scales along the Jaiñtia Hills-Assam border in Khanduli a few days ago.
Sangma praised the “vigilant” wildlife officials and commended them for their efforts.
Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine, which has put the animal on the endangered species list. It is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
“Hunting or harming such an animal will attract serious criminal sanctions, which may result in jail for up to seven years and a fine of up to Rs 25, 000,” Sangma said.
“Our state is naturally blessed with flora and fauna and hence we take such incidents extremely seriously. We have commended the efforts of the forest officials and asked them to maintain the highest vigilance to track down any such traffickers and take the strictest of legal actions against them. We remain committed to not only protecting our beautiful state but also cracking down heavily on any person who engages in disrupting our environmental harmony.”
On November 11, three persons involved in the trafficking were arrested by the Jaiñtia Hills Wildlife Division. They were identified as Serus Bhoi, Francis Lamare and Arki Lamare, all from Namdong village.
Officials seized a live pangolin and 1.20 kg pangolin scales were also recovered from the persons. The arrested persons revealed that the live Pangolin and scales were purchased from a person in Hamren in West Karbi Anglong.