Thane Police on Friday arrested two people for trying to sell a pangolin, a rare and highly endangered insectivore, with officials claiming that the animal was worth Rs 40 lakh in the illegal wildlife market.
Acting on a tip-off, personnel from the Crime Branch's Unit V kept watch and arrested the duo from near a temple in the Wagle Estate area of the city.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Mukund Hatote said the pangolin was worth Rs 40 lakh in the illegal wildlife trade. He added that investigations were on to find out who was supposed to buy the pangolin.
Inspector Jairaj Ranavre of the Crime Branch said that the two, identified as Ashok Jadhav (29) and Santosh Butala (30), were arrested and charged under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Officials added that the pangolin had been handed over to the Forest department as mandated by wildlife laws.
The pangolin, subject of several conservation initiatives by wildlife experts, is highly priced for its therapeutic value in Oriental medicine.