Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], December 21 (ANI): Three specimens of canine teeth belonging to the genus 'Panthera', along with ash-like powder, were recovered from an Emirates flight from Dubai on Sunday.
According to the Chennai Air Customs, the contraband was concealed in the hollow pipe of a seat of the aircraft.
"Based on the intelligence that gold, wildlife, and animal parts were likely to be smuggled, Emirates flight EK-544, which arrived from Dubai on Sunday morning, was rummaged following which two scrunched up tissue papers were found concealed inside the hollow pipe of one of the seats," the Chennai Air Customs' press release stated.
While the first tissue ball contained two animal teeth, the second one contained just a single tooth but with some ash-like powder. In total, three teeth were recovered.
An officer from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) conducted a morphological examination of the animal teeth and identified them as canine teeth of the genus 'Panthera'. The genus is known to include big cats such as tigers, lions, and jaguars amongst others. Panthera species are listed under schedule l of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and are also listed under CITES Appendix I.
Big cat teeth are usually sold as lucky charm lockets and are quite expensive. The three teeth and powder have been seized under the Customs Act read with the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the release said while adding that recovered items will be sent to the Advanced Institute for Wildlife Conservation, Tambaram, Chennai for identification of species.
Further investigation is under process. (ANI)