New Delhi: Smuggling of Indian Pangolin is on the rise. The very existence of the Pangolin popularly called as anteater is in danger as they are being killed for old traditional belief of China.

Considered to have a medicinal value, the animal is killed for its scales (outer skin cover). From Central East parts of India, kilos of dead pangolins and their scales are smuggled to China via Myanmar. It has now become a serious issue of concern for the Wild Life activists.

Every year thousand of Pangolins are being killed to cater the demands of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and other Central East Asian countries. Seizure of Pangolin scales in recent raids from Chennai to Imphal reveals the true picture of wide smuggling network of Pangolin body parts. In past few months more than two hundred kilos of Pangolin scales have been seized from Dermorae border near Myanmar, Guwahati and Kolkata airport.

Additional Director General, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Reena Mitra revealed some  shocking facts that came into light after a string of raids in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bengal  and Eastern states. Mitra, who is a senior IPS officer said, “Hunters are using several mediums to smuggle Pangolin body parts. They are using railway mail, plane cargos and courier for this purpose. Staffs of these departments are being trained to curb the malpractice.”

Reportedly, more than 80 kilos of Pangolin scales was seized from cargo of Kolkata airport few months back. While smuggling racket was busted in Chennai. Mitra also accepted that these animals are being smuggled out of country on a very large scale and many gangs are still active in this illegal activity.

According to the experts, there are more than two kilo scales in a single pangolin and in black market, one kilo of scales costs Rs 70,000. In the year 2010, Custom duty officials of China seized 10,000 ton of dead Pangolins.

According to Indian Wildlife Conservation Act, Pangolins are the declared as protected species. As well as International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has kept this animal in its red list and an International treaty is also signed to stop the smuggling of this animal.

Considering the decreasing population of Pangolins, the Central Zoo Authority has placed Pangolin amongst the 70 endangered species of the country.

It is believed that medicines made from Pangolin scales are helpful in reducing swelling, promotes blood circulation and cures skin related ailments. According to the scientific research there are no health related benefits of scales.