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A Poisoned Chalice: Black Scorpions, Worth More Than Gold, Being Caught and Sold Illegally
The Express Tribune ^ | Sameer Mandhro

Posted on 06/06/2014 3:51:44 PM PDT by nickcarraway

An underground black market and smuggling ring fuels the budding industry.

KARACHI: The black scorpion is one of the most feared anthropods in the country, an animal that used to be killed on sight as a defence reflex. Now, there are people that hunt and capture the fearful animals; catch a few big ones and you are set for life.

The black-market trade of black-and-yellow scorpions is at its peak in Sindh. Catching them is not an easy task; capturing a poisonous scorpion that often scurries away at the slightest of movements. People in the coastal belt of Sindh, however, still do it to get good money.

The black scorpion goes at a premium, as compared to the yellow one. A scorpions that weighs more than 50 grammes can fetch eye-raising figures and one that weighs more than 100 grammes is literally worth more than its weight in gold. Since prices increase exponentially, each additional gramme of weight is more valuable than the last.

The hunters

To capture a scorpion, one has to leave home soon after the sun sets and search for the black sand. If you are lucky, then you may be able to find one after searching for about six to eight hours. “I enjoy hunting black scorpions,” M*, who has been in the trade for the last couple of months, told The Express Tribune. “I am not alone in this activity, and there are many who search for them.”

M knows that the scorpions in his areas are not of an ideal size and thinks that most of the big ones have already been captured. He revealed that he often receives calls from prospective buyers, inquiring whether he had caught any good ones recently.

“People from Lahore and Islamabad are also in my contact,” claimed W* from Thatta, who has not found a scorpion that weights more than 35 grammes.

He informed The Express Tribune that the demand for scorpions that weigh more than 50 grammes is extremely high. Despite his unenviable success rate, he remains optimistic. “I will find at least a big one by the end of this month,” he said.

According to the people who are involved in this illegal scorpion trade, a few buyers have even established offices in Karachi. Middlemen contact these buyers and prices are then fixed according to the weight. “If I say I have a scorpion that weighs more than 100 grammes, at least half a dozen people will contact me within a few hours,” said W, a smile crossing his face at the prospect.

Like the others, he is not concerned about the fate of the endangered animals after he has sold it. “We earn a lot of money but we also risk our lives for it so the price is fair,” W justified.

The hunters, or collectors as would be more apt to call them, do know one thing: the scorpions are being used for medicinal research, more specifically for its poison.

Another collector told The Express Tribune that this illegal activity started in his area last year. “I used to see a lot of black- and-yellow scorpions here but I don’t see them anymore,” he said.

Experts are concerned

The wildlife experts are not aware of the sale of scorpions but say that the involvement of Pakistanis in the scorpion smuggling racket makes it all the more worrying.

“The sudden disappearance of such a large number of scorpions is dangerous for biodiversity,” said International Union for Conservation of Nature Pakistan natural resource management coordinator Nadeem Mirbahar.

“It will disturb the food chain. Plus the venom of scorpions is lethal. A strict ban on selling and collecting them should be imposed immediately.”

Sindh Wildlife Department head Javed Ahmed Mahar said that stern action will be taken against those involved in illegal scorpion trade.

The sellers, however, seem unperturbed by the idea of a ban and some even welcome it. They believe that a ban will enhance the rates further. “The ban will make this trade more interesting,” said W, smiling again at the prospect of being able to ear more.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Pets/Animals; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: scorpion

1 posted on 06/06/2014 3:51:44 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Watch out for those black female ones.


2 posted on 06/06/2014 3:55:49 PM PDT by PapaNew
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To: nickcarraway

If they legalize the sale of black scorpions, then it’ll keep the profits away from the Mexican black scorpion cartels and cut crime and increase tax revenue in this country. It’ll stop the black scorpion gangs from using our national forests to grow them.


3 posted on 06/06/2014 3:57:30 PM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: nickcarraway

Lessee...Pakistanis who want to study powerful poisons....hmmmm


4 posted on 06/06/2014 4:00:21 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: nickcarraway

Weird article. It eventually indicated the trade is illegal because they are endangered.

And eventually rather broadly says they are sold for research.

We learn very little from this article, but it is interesting to hear about.


5 posted on 06/06/2014 4:00:31 PM PDT by ifinnegan
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To: nickcarraway

I thought scorpions were fluorescent. You can find them pretty easily after dark with a blacklight. In fact, sometimes it can scare the dickens out of you once you realize how many of them are around.


6 posted on 06/06/2014 4:17:58 PM PDT by kaehurowing (FIGHT BULLYING, UNINSTALL FIREFOX)
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To: nickcarraway

“fetch eye-raising figures”

OK, more than gold. What are the figures?


7 posted on 06/06/2014 4:21:31 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: nickcarraway
Chiang Mai night market:
8 posted on 06/06/2014 4:27:43 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: nickcarraway

9 posted on 06/06/2014 4:41:16 PM PDT by Redcitizen (Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.)
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To: kaehurowing

Little brown critters are commonplace in the Missouri Ozarks. Best to spray the house a couple times a year...


10 posted on 06/06/2014 4:49:28 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Rip it out by the roots.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

I will not let Mrs. Pete know this or she will never agree to accompany me to visit my brother in Arkansas again.

How do they taste? Or do they make good bait, or both? (Assuming you don’t poison them first, of course!)

http://meat-recipes.wonderhowto.com/how-to/cook-scorpion-235327/ says it tastes like crab! (I’m Allergic!)


11 posted on 06/06/2014 5:10:48 PM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: nickcarraway

I had thought that the large black scorpion was pretty docile and not very poisonous. The little red ones in the So. Cal. desert are really painful.


12 posted on 06/06/2014 5:11:48 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Do The Math)
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To: nickcarraway

The article doesn’t really say why they are valuable, other than for “medical research”. Muzzies researching deadly poisons - nope, doesn’t raise any flags for me.....


13 posted on 06/06/2014 5:18:54 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

Seeing them in daylight is rare.
They prefer a glade hillside with rock outcrops.


14 posted on 06/07/2014 4:37:22 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Rip it out by the roots.)
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To: JimSEA; GeronL; Slings and Arrows

How are they fried or boiled?

15 posted on 06/07/2014 6:40:31 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The new witchhunt: "Do you NOW, . . . or have you EVER , . . supported traditional marriage?")
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To: a fool in paradise

I do not understand a lot of things people do these days


16 posted on 06/07/2014 6:44:16 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Some Fat Guy in L.A.

What’s the old joke about the guy who goes to some village, tells the residents that he’ll pay $1 per critter (I don’t recall what it was, rats, rabbits, whatever). After 6 months of harvest, I think he pushes it up to $2 per or something?

Then he has to go out of town but promises that when he gets back, he’ll pay $5 per critter.

While he’s gone, his undisclosed accomplice sells the ones that were caught (now quite scarce) to the locals for $4 each.

Neither person ever returns...


17 posted on 06/07/2014 6:45:31 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The new witchhunt: "Do you NOW, . . . or have you EVER , . . supported traditional marriage?")
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To: a fool in paradise

LOL. Deep fried or grilled but no way I’m eating one of them. I got bit a couple of times in AZ. No fun at all and they were the less poisonous yellow ones. The little translucent guys were reportedly the most dangerous there. They would drop onto the bed from the ceiling. I’d move really quickly.


18 posted on 06/07/2014 7:06:34 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Redcitizen

I’ll bet they weigh more than 50 grammes.


19 posted on 06/07/2014 7:07:56 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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