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Pangolin rescued from Odisha’s Quarantine Centre will be tested for COVID-19

Cuttack: Odisha Forest department has decided to conduct COVID-19 test of a Pangolin that was rescued from a quarantine centre in the State. It will be for the first time that the swab samples of a pangolin will be sent for testing.

On Monday, a team of Athagarh Forest division in Cuttack rescued the Pangolin from a quarantine centre in Baramba. “Acting on a tip-off from the local sarpanch, we rescued the pangolin from the quarantine facility. We will take it to the veterinary doctor here for its health checkup,” said Athagarh Divisional Forest Officer, Sasmita Lenka.

“As the pangolin has been rescued from a quarantine centre, we have decided to send its swab sample for COVID-19 testing before releasing it into the wild,” said Lenka. The Centre for Wildlife Health (CWH) at OUAT in Bhubaneswar is likely to facilitate the process, she added.

Lenka further said that an investigation is underway to ascertain how the pangolin ended up in the quarantine centre. “A smuggling racket is currently active in the region. A couple of days ago, we had made some arrests; we will probe if the arrested persons are linked to the case,” she said.

The Athagarh Forest division has so far (since August 2019) arrested around 30 persons in connection with pangolin smuggling and efforts are on to arrest the kingpin of the smuggling racket in the region, she added.

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