A team of foresters at the Belakoba range under the Baikunthapur forest division arrested two persons and seized pangolin scales from them on Thursday evening.
The raid was conducted at Odlabari in Jalpaiguri district and located around 45km from Siliguri.
“We acted on source information and spotted the duo at a roadside eatery in Odlabari. They were intercepted and a bag containing the entire skin of a pangolin, including the scales, was found on them. As they failed to furnish any document to prove that they were carrying the item legally, both have been arrested,” said a forester.
The duo have been identified as Palden Lepcha and Dilip Rai, residents of Kalimpong. They had planned to smuggle the scales to Nepal, foresters said.
Pangolin is a Schedule I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. There is a complete ban on consuming its meat or using its scales.
“The scales are used in Chinese traditional medicines and therefore there is a steady demand for the item. We suspect the two are associated with a racket that smuggles smaller animals and animal organs. There are reports that they have smuggled similar items earlier,” the forester said.