Guntur: Two smugglers who were trying to sell a rare pangolin for Rs. 65 lakh in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur were arrested by forest officials on 17 July.
The principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), N. Prateep Kumar, said the two men have been identified as U. Siva Koteswara Rao and U. Sivaiah. A manhunt has also been launched to find two more persons connected to the case.
The pangolin is a protected species under the Wild Life Protection Act.
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The two men had trapped the pangolin at the Edlapadu forest area in Guntur district a few days ago. They had posted videos of the animal on YouTube with an aim to sell it. The forest officials received a tip-off claiming that some persons were trying to find customers to sell a rare species of Pangolin near the Jaggapuram area in Guntur district. Posing as customers, a team of forest officials reached the spot and arrested the two men for illegally possessing a pangolin.
Mr. Prateep Kumar said the pangolin is an endangered species in India. It is also the most-hunted and most-trafficked animal in the world. "If the pangolin is in good health, we will release the animal back into the forest," he said, adding an FIR has been lodged under relevant sections of the IPC and Forest Acts and further investigation is underway.