A joint operation conducted by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, New Delhi, the Forest Department and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has busted two epicentres of illegal wildlife poaching and trade, one in Anantnag area of Srinagar valley and the other in Manwal in the Jammu region.
One person, identified as Gul Mohammad Ganie, alleged to be in close connection with the matter, was arrested, with eight leopard skins, 38 bear gallbladders, four musk dear pods were seized in the raid in Anantnag.
The Jammu police, on the other hand, seized five pelts, seven nails, eight canines, two molars, two skulls, 140 bones pieces of Himalayan leopard as well as one musk teeth from Kushal Hussain, who has been taken into custody, following the raid in Manwal.
Linkages of this illegal activity
Reports of preliminary investigation revealed that the duo arrested from two different places were partners in the same illegal wildlife trafficking.
But related details, such as for how long the two partners have been involved in this illegal trade or the extent of the trafficking operations and associates of this illegal business, is yet to be revealed in the investigation that is still underway.
A case related to the illegal activity has been registered in Anantnag police station. The police, at present, is trying to trace the various linkages of the poaching activity, demand and supply chains as well as linkages between the traders involved.
According to reports, the officials of WCCB flew from Delhi to conduct simultaneous raids to expose the illegal trafficking in Anantnag and Manwal,. Offcers from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Wildlife Warden's office and Police joined them in raids on Friday.
Largest seizure in recent past
Reports have also stated that the present wildlife poaching 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), perfumes and other accessories.
These poached animals, including Himalayan leopard, bear and musk deer, are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. According to the provisions of the Act, poaching of these animals and illegally trading their body parts is a punishable crime, with a minimum of three years of imprisonment that can also be extended to up to seven years depending on the crime.
Taking to twitter to appreciate the WCCB team for its credible efforts towards ending wildlife crime, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Kudos to the team of @WCCBHQ , 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."