WCCB, forest teams seize ‘smuggled’ pangolin scales in Upper Assam



Guwahati, Feb 7: A team from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Guwahati seized  6.300 kg scales of pangolin in a joint operation with the Digboi Forest Division at Makum in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district on Monday.

The WCCB and forest teams seized the pangolin scales from a dhaba (Gogoi Dhaba) near Makum National Highway during the operation.

“The operation was based on intelligence inputs developed by the WCCB sub regional office here. Three persons, belonging to Arunachal Pradesh, have been detained in connection with the seizure,” a WCCB official informed.

The detained persons have been identified as Amal Bikash Sakma and Lakhi Ram Sakma from Changlang district and Basant Kumar Sakma from Hollongi in Papumpare district.

“According to preliminary information, the accused trio had brought the contraband from their villagers. Further interrogation is underway. The case has been handed over to Lakhipathar Forest Range Office under Digboi Division,” the official said.

The entire operation was led by Jawaharlal Baro, assistant director WCCB SRO, Guwahati, and Ranjit Ram, the divisional forest officer of Digboi Division.

Pangolins are enlisted in Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and declared a “critically endangered” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Along with the latest seizure, the WCCB teams had over the past two weeks seized over 10 kg pangolin scales.

On January 27 last, a joint operation conducted by teams from WCCB Guwahati and Assam forest department (Sonapur range) led to the seizure of pangolin scales weighing 4.100 kg from a resort in Sonapur on the outskirts of Guwahati.

Seven persons were detained and three motorbikes seized from their possession.