World Pangolin Day celebrated in Pokhribong, Darjeeling | WWF India

World Pangolin Day celebrated in Pokhribong, Darjeeling

Posted on
18 February 2017
Darjeeling, West Bengal: On 18th February, a day-long programme was organised in Darjeeling by WWF India to mark the World Pangolin Day. The event was organised in collaboration with the Forest Department, TRAFFIC-India, the Zero Waste Himalayas group, tea garden estates and Riverdale – a local student hostel in the Pokhribong Bazar Community Hall. The programme was attended by school students and representatives of various organisations, forest department, and tea estates.

Despite being a protected species under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Pangolin is a greatly threatened animal. According to a report published by TRAFFIC, “More than one million pangolins were illegally traded globally between 2000 and 2014” which makes them one of the most illegally trafficked mammal on earth.

Pokhribong and the adjoining areas of the region are home to the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla, Linnaeus) which is hunted locally due various superstitious beliefs and as bush meat. According to beliefs, the scales of pangolins are said to cure ailments from asthma to arthritis. Its scales are made up of keratin, a substance also found in human hair and nails. In the last 10 years, the population of pangolins in Pokhribong is said to have declined sharply. The Chinese pangolin is listed as critically endangered on IUCN Red List.
The initiative aimed at spreading awareness and garnering much needed support to protect and conserve this unique species. Opening the event, Ms. Lak Tsheden Theeng and Mr. Deependra Sunar of Khangchendzonga Landscape, WWF India, spoke on various aspects related to the conservation of Pangolins. Mrs. Shweta Rai, Additional Division Forest Officer, shared some thoughts on ‘Pangolin and the Wildlife Protection Act’. Other dignitaries present at the event were Dr. Sunita Pradhan - ATREE, and Mr. Ajay Pradhan, Additional Division Forest Officer of Darjeeling Wildlife Division.

A short film on Pangolins was screened for the audience. This was followed by ‘Paint the Pangolin’ competition for the students in the age group of 7-12 years under junior category, and 13-17 years under senior category. Bookmarks with messages on pangolin conservation were also distributed. Participants took a pledge for pangolin conservation with their hand print on a banner.

The day-long programme in Pokhribong was well received and participants urged immediate action to stop poaching and illegal trade of this shy, lesser known nocturnal mammal. WWF India plans to undertake more such programmes to sensitize the local people and the students in the region.

For further information:
Priyadarshinee Shrestha
Team Leader
Khangchendzonga Landscape Programme| WWF India
pshrestha@wwfindia.net 

Pooja Chowdhary
Sr. Communication Officer
Species and Landscapes Programme | WWF India
pchowdhary@wwfindia.net

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