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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Baripada: A pangolin rescued from a man at Gohirapal village under Bangiriposhi police limits in Mayurbhanj district was sent for a COVID test after its captor was found to have contracted the virus on Tuesday.

AS per reports, the poacher, Singu Baske was arrested by the Mayurbhanj Special Squad Police on May 7, 2021 for smuggling a pangolin aged around 2 years and weighs around 8 Kgs.

When asked, Baske admitted that he caught the animal from Similipal Wildlife Reserve and intended to sell it.

However, as per the protocol, the police tested Baske for COVID before forwarding him to court and the result came positive.

As Baske had kept the Pangolin in his home for some days, it was suspected that he might have contracted the disease from the Pangolin or vice versa. So, the police sent the animal for COVID testing the report of which is awaited.

Speaking about the Pangolin, Bhanumitra Acharya, former Honorary Wildlife Warden said, “The pangolin has been sent for testing on the basis of reports about some lions testing positive for Coronavirus. If the pangolin tests positive then the Forest Department will take custody of the animal, otherwise they will leave it in its natural habitat.”

It is worthwhile to mention here that, Pangolins are the most illegally traded mammals of the world. They are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, implying the highest degree of protection, and grouped as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. And killing them is an absolute ‘No’ in our country, but due to alleged administrative negligence poachers find it easy to kill them for trade.

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