Jharkhandforest department officials on Monday evening nabbed three persons with over a kilogramme of pangolin scales from a hotel near Ranchi railway station.
Ranchi divisional forest officer Shrikant Verma said that three persons including one from Bengal’s Alipurduar, one from Bihar’s Madhubani and another a Ranchi native were waiting for a dealer from Ranchi to sell the scales when the forest officials raided their room in the low-budget hotel acting on a tip-off.
“We are currently interrogating the trio and not divulging their identity. During initial questioning, they admitted to having over 20kg of pangolin scales. We have a feeling that they were members of an inter-state racket and we would like to nab their leader,” said Verma.
The forest official informed that the pangolin is listed as a critically endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red data book and is also a schedule-I animal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
The animal’s meat is largely consumed in China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam and are used in traditional medicines.
A kilogramme of scale costs around Rs 1 lakh.
Forest department sources revealed that pangolins are found in the forest near Ormanjhi, Kanke, Mccluskieganj and Khunti.