With its shielded shell and weird way of walking, the shy pangolin looks more like an insect eating animal prepared for a medieval fight than a creature under danger. The Indian Pangolin is widely found in majority region of the country, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Apart from Indian states, the pangolin is also found in abroad countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. However, over time, the number of this mammal from the species of Pholidota is decreasing with a faster pace, giving the ecologists an in-depth concern about the illegal trafficking and black business of animals in India, especially in South Asia.
While, each year on March 3, we are celebrating World Wildlife Day, it hasn’t been able to bring any significant changes in the rate of illegal trafficking and trading of animals like pangolin in India. As per the recent study, the illegal wildlife trading and black trafficking annihilated wild species across India in the last couple of years, creating an in-depth anxiety for environmentalists all over the world. After illegitimate drug and human trafficking, wildlife trafficking has secured the fourth largest controlled crime in India. However, apart from the statistics and data yet received about the unlawful wildlife trafficking, the black trading of pangolin n Manipur has created huge waves of surprise among the ecologists.
Pangolins are mostly found in bamboo forests, limestone regions, agricultural fields and dry hills. Indian constitution has prescribed legal rules under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, CITES in Appendix II for monitoring and regulating the trade and trafficking of the pangolin, in order to prevent illegal acts and business. But in Manipur, which is famous for its natural beauty, the state of diverse flora and fauna is now reported to be the center of illegal wildlife trading and is claimed to push a number of animals including pangolin towards extermination.
As per the reports, most of the pangolins are exported to countries outside of India including Myanmar, China, Nepal, Vietnam, and Thailand through the border of Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya. While China, Nepal, and Vietnam are believed to be the central markets for illegal wildlife trading of pangolins, Asian countries have also lagged no behind it. As said by the statistics, pangolins are exported to outside countries as bush meat or bones, giving an indication to the unlawful trafficking of pangolins to be the most serious problem in the near future. While sometimes, the deaths of pangolins are caused due to the road accident, some of the deaths are unnatural, and they are knowingly pushed towards demise.
According to a Transnational Organised Crime Threat Assessment (TOCTA) academic journal published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2010, Myanmar is the prime nation to do black smuggling of Southeast Asian wildlife and exported them to China, which is believed to be the largest consumer of such illegal bones and scales of pangolins and other wildlife animals and species.