When the rare Indian Pangolin ventured near human habitation in Gurugram, India, villagers had beaten it to death. In an incident which had our conscience shaken, the endangered creature lost its life after being brutally attacked.

On Sep. 29, the villagers at Patakpur in Punhana spotted the creature roaming freely during nighttime.

“We got a call after it had died. We filed a complaint at the Punaha police station and an FIR was filed,” The Times of India quoted Rajinder Prasad, district forest officer, Wildlife, Gurugram as saying.

A post-mortem report validated the fact that it had been beaten to death by the mob.

The villagers could not recognize the 2.5 feet-long-creature with scales to be a pangolin and opened a fatal assault on it. It looked somewhat between a reptile and a snake but the scales surprised the villagers the most. Not knowing what to do, they had beaten the poor creature to death.

Indian pangolin, which stands on the verge of extinction, is a rare mammal of the order Pholidota. This Schedule-I species is given the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act. Pangolin is not harmful to humans.

A local said that the villagers got scared of the animal when it picked up speed while advancing towards them. "It looked different, it looked dangerous. The villagers got scared and some started chasing it. Threatened, the pangolin ran towards the people and they killed it," a local was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

According to the wildlife officials, awareness about wildlife should be immediately raised among the villagers.  “It was unfortunate. People did not know what it was. There is a need to create awareness about such species. People need to know it is harmless and plays an important role in the ecosystem,” Prasad further stated.

A wildlife enthusiast named Anil Gandas received a call after the Pangolin was killed. He told The Times of India while mourning the Pangolin, “I have been rescuing animals in the Aravalis since 2006. The species is extremely rare. It is completely harmless- it doesn’t have teeth. Only once, about two and a half years ago, did I get a call from a villager in Dabripur about a Pangolin he had locked in his house. If only someone had called me this time as well.”