Tue, 22 Jun 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 6 (ANI): Pakistan has lost more than 80 per cent of its pangolins due to their illegal killing for scales and meat and also due to their illegal trade especially with China, reported Dawn.

Speaking at an awareness session on the Scale and Scope of Illegal Trade of Endangered Indian Pangolin, its Ecological and Economic Benefits and Conservation Efforts in Pakistan, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Senior Director (Biodiversity) Rab Nawaz said, "We know persecution by farmers has always been there. But we have seen a very sharp decline due to their illegal trade especially in China where demand by the growing middle class for their scales and meat has increased significantly in the last ten years."The session was organised by WWF and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB).

"We are trying to get a message across how important not only pangolins but other species are in Pakistan. We have lost a lot of species and we are losing more. We have lost 80 per cent of pangolins and perhaps more than 80 per cent of our freshwater turtles, all due to the same issue of illegal smuggling and we are losing more species than we know about," Nawaz said, adding trade in wildlife itself was the third biggest black market trade in the world.

He said in Pakistan there are no penalties but the rewards are huge as some poachers can get thousands of dollars in the illegal market.

While law enforcement is somewhat vigilant in Pakistan's Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are no reports from provinces like Sindh and Balochistan, Dawn quoted Tariq Mehmood, associate professor in the Wildlife Department, Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi as saying.

Between 2012 and 13, as many as 25 kgs of scales were confiscated from Chakwal that were being transported to China. From 2011 till 2019 1,800 pangolins were killed in Potohar and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The number of pangolins that have been killed and not reported is much higher, Mehmood added. (ANI)

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