Illegal trade of pangolin grew ‘eight-fold’Rampant poaching and illegal trade of equally important pangolin species is looming as a major threat for the conservation sector.
The illegal trade of little known pangolin, locally know as “Salak” has increased almost 800 percent based on the seizures by concerned authorities in the years between 2009 and 2014 in Nepal, owing to high demand for its scales and body parts which are used as delicacies and traditional medicine in China and neighbouring South East Asian nations. Globally, pangolin species which range from “critically endangered”, meaning needing urgent conservation efforts to protect from extinction like Sunda pangolins to less threatened Chinese and Indian pangolins, are under immense threat from illegal wildlife trade, especially for meat and scales.
A study conducted by a team of young Nepali researchers has found that the major trade route for the pangolins is found along Kathmandu-Kodari-Tibet and beyond, said Kumar Paudel, one of the researchers.
“Conservation efforts are more concentrated on major species like tigers and rhinos with increased investments and human resources. However, the illegal trade of lesser known but important wildlife has significantly rose in the recent years,” Paudel said. Various studies have also found that forests in eastern region as well as in Sindhupalchok, Kavre, Bhaktapur, Dolakha, Makawanpur and Dhading are habitats of two species of pangolins—Chinese pangolin (Tame Salak) and Indian pangolin (Kalo Salak).
During a discussion on the occasion of World Pangolin Day on Saturday, wildlife expert Karan Shah said the major challenge for the protection of pangolin is lack of awareness and information about the existence of the animal.