New Delhi/Jammu/Srinagar, Jan 30 (PTI) In one of the largest seizures, the WCCB has busted two wildlife trafficking syndicates in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag and Manwal area and seized a huge quantity of contraband, including body parts of endangered species like musk dear pods and Himalayan Black bear.
The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has also arrested two men -- one each from Anantnag in Srinagar and Manwal in Jammu -- during the operation.
The seized parts of animals - leopard, bear and musk deer -- are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
As per the provisions of the Act, poaching of these animals and trading their by parts is punishable with minimum three years of imprisonment extendable up to seven years. In an official statement, the Union Environment ministry said in a joint operation, WCCB officers from Delhi along with officers of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Wildlife Warden and police, conducted simultaneous raids at different places on January 29.
In the raid at Anantnag, eight leopard pelts, 38 bear biles and four musk pods were seized.
Five Leopard pelts, seven leopard nails, eight canines, two molars, two leopard skulls and leopard bones (four Jaw bones, 140 bones pieces) and one musk teeth were seized in Manwal of Jammu region, it said.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar congratulated the WCCB on its continued commitment towards ending wildlife crime.
'Kudos to the team of WCCB, J&K police and the Forest department for their successful operation and arresting 2 main kingpins involved in illegal wildlife trafficking in the J&K region. Keep up the continued commitment towards ending wildlife crime,' Javadekar tweeted.
'Preliminary investigation revealed that both the offenders arrested in two places were partners in the illegal wildlife trade.
'Further investigation will reveal for how long they have been involved in this illegal trade, as also quantum, extent and associates of this illegal business,' the ministry said. Efforts are being made to trace the forward and backward linkages of this illegal activity, demand and supply chains and onward traders' linkages, it said. 'The present seizure is one of the largest seizures in the recent past. Musk deer and Himalayan Black bear are endangered species and poached for musk pods, bear bile, which is used in Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM),” it said.
Officials in Jammu said the arrest of the two accused followed a credible input developed WCCB and department of Wildlife Protection, J-K.
After due process, the department of Wildlife Protection filed an offence report for filing FIR in the respective police stations, and handed over the accused to the police authorities, officials in Jammu said.
He said further details are being investigated.
Authorities in Srinagar said on a specific information provided by WCCCB, a team of police, CRPF and Wildlife officials raided Shirpora area of Anantnag and recovered recovered the contraband.
The police spokesperson said a case under relevant sections of law was registered in the local police station. PTI MIJ TAS AG TDS TDS