Indian Pangolin is listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, implying it needs highest degree of protection. It is grouped in the endangered (EN) category of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Also, it is included under the Appendix II of International Convention of Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In spite of the highest legislative protection, secret killings of the Indian Pangolin are prevalent.
In July 2015, 44 kg of scales was confiscated near Chiplun. Recently in February 2016, another consignment with 12 kg of scales was seized by the Maharashtra State Police Department and Wildlife Wing of Maharashtra State Forest Department. These incidence prompted SNM to gear up for protection and conservation of Indian Pangolin in Konkan.
At present, there is no data available on the population of the Indian Pangolin in the wild. For last one and half year, SNM has been conducting an intensive survey and has identified more than 100 villages having regular Pangolin nesting. SNM intends to conduct an intensive village level survey throughout Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg to ascertain the present population status of the Indian Pangolin.
In order to create awareness for the conservation of Indian Pangolin in the Konkan region, SNM conducted an orientation cum awareness workshop on the occasion of ‘International Pangolin Day’. This workshop was conducted on 20th February 2016 at Chiplun.
SNM intends to create awareness and sensitization activities for the local community in the identified pockets. Through these activities SNM aims to elevate its conservation efforts by actively involving local communities for effective protection of the Indian Pangolin.
SNM also intends to set-up a network of field-level volunteers to keep a close eye on the secret killings of the Pangolins. These volunteers would identify the locals skilled in tracing Pangolin nests. This network-building activity would also help to curb the rampant illicit trade of the scales.
The Police Department, Maharashtra State and the Maharashtra State Forest Departments are extending their full support to SNM for conducting Pangolin conservation activities. In addition, a few village heads (sarpanchs) have also agreed to lend a full cooperation to SNM for various conservation-related activities.