ISLAMABAD: Wildlife conservationists on Saturday seized a second pangolin in less than three months.

Almost driven to extinction in the Salt Range, Kala Chitta mountain range and Potohar region due to loss of habitat and especially poaching, it is illegal to catch and trade in pangolins under the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979.

In late August, the staff of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) confiscated a pangolin that was being sold online.

A few days ago, the IWMB came across another advertisement online where an individual in Attock was trying to sell a pangolin for Rs40,000.

“Our wildlife staff posed as associates of a Chinese employer and approached the seller. We agreed to pay Rs42,000 and met him in Fatehjang. The individuals who brought the animal were students who were delivering on behalf of the actual poachers,” said a conservationist with IWMB, Zaheer Khan, who led the raid. After taking down their details, the students were let go.

“However, we have been receiving threats of dire consequences from a mobile number registered in Greece. We realised how big this network is, in fact it is an international ring,” Zaheer Khan told Dawn.

He said the animal was released into its natural habitat and its details were kept secret to ensure its survival.

Pangolin was the most trafficked animal in the world last year. Its scales are used for making bulletproof vests and its meat is in high demand, the official said.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2020