Inter-state wildlife crime racket busted in Assam

GUWAHATI: A thriving racket involved in wildlife crime between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has been busted with the arrest of two kingpins and seizure of a large number of animal body parts on Sunday. In a joint operation by officials of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), police and forest deparment, two persons were arrested along with 42 bear biles, five leopard nails and three suspected tiger bones. The persons arrested were identified Sarbat Pradhan and Ajit Saha of Harmuti, close to inter-state border with Arunachal Pradesh, the largest state in Northeast with almost 80% of its land area covered under forest. WCCB officials estimated that the body parts seized are worth Rs 50 Lakh in the international grey market. A senior WCCB official said that the duo have been running the racket for almost nine years. “They (the arrested duo) source wildlife body parts from Arunachal Pradesh. During interrogation it came to light that contraband items are supplied to a particular buyer from another state in Northeast. We do not want to disclose the state’s name at the moment, because it may alert the buyer, and escape from our net. We are pursuing the entire operation of this racket,” the official said. The official said that the operation was launched following substantial intelligence inputs on the thriving racket. Arunachal Pradesh forest department officials also assisted in busting the racket. The busting of the racket also brought to the fore the fact that it is not only the rhinos killed for their horns but other species are also increasingly being targeted by poachers to meet the soaring demand for wildlife body parts in international grey markets. “Forty-two bear biles mean same number of bears were killed by poachers. Bears are also Schedule I species as rhinos. The magnitude of wildlife crimes involving poaching of different species of animals in Northeast is indeed serious,” secretary general of biodiversity conservation NGO, Bibhab Kumar Talukdar. Date : 23 Oct 2017 Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/inter-state-wildlife-crime-racket-busted-in-assam/articleshow/61173838.cms