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In transit or destination,Delhi is poachers’ capital

There is little connection between an ultraviolet-ray light sourced from Australia and clumps of fish meat with bones carefully picked clean...

Written by Neha Sinha |
December 31, 2009 4:25:26 am

There is little connection between an ultraviolet-ray light sourced from Australia and clumps of fish meat with bones carefully picked clean,but together the two form a perfect gift for the Capital’s unusual guests — two baby crocodiles.

Poached from Tamil Nadu’s Hogenakkal Falls and rescued from the poacher’s luggage at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Railway Station,the baby crocodiles are being taken care of by the NGO Wildlife SOS here.

In the past one year,Delhi has witnessed several rare and protected species — dead and alive — brought in via illegal channels from across the country. The authorities have found nine leopard skins,four ‘sambar’ deer skins,100 shawls made from shahtoosh (Tibetan antelope ‘chiru’ hair) and seven otter skins.

Several NGOs — along with the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau,Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,Delhi Crime Branch,CBI and the state Wildlife Department — have found animals packed in boxes being transported on the roof of buses,stuffed in luggage on railway stations,and bundled in crates carried by trucks.

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An enforcement officer from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau says,“Larger cities have a different kind of wildlife crime. Kolkata,with its tanning industries,often has illegal tanning of skins of protected species like blackbuck. Delhi,however,is the hub of wildlife crime,as traders and middlemen are based here. Some of the contraband also goes to China through Nepal or Tibet. A lead in another part of the country gets us back to Delhi,where we may find more contraband or the poacher/trader.”

The moneyed consumers are also mostly based in the Capital. In November,the CBI and the WCCB raided the Jammu and Kashmir state emporium and seized shahtoosh shawls. During the India International Trade Fair,NGO People for Animals along with the Delhi Police raided Orissa and Tamil Nadu stalls to find protected conches being sold at high prices.

What the agencies freed from poachers’ clutches

Two-headed snakeThis month,Noida police told the media that they had intercepted a poacher with a rare snake “with two heads,” which was worth “Rs 1 crore”. The snake — the non-venomous,bulky red sand boa — neither has two heads nor is worth Rs 1 crore. It is,however,captured and sold for its curiosity value: its tail resembles its head giving it the enigmatic “two-headed snake” tag.

Baby crocodilesOn October 26,the WCCB,Crime Branch and PFA seized 2 crocodile babies,one cobra and three green vine snakes from a small-time Tamil movie actor,Snake Mano,who claimed to be a ‘snake hero’.

Parakeets(talking green birds,often mistakenly called parrots) WCCB seized 350 live Alexandrine Parakeets in Ahmedabad,which had been sent from Delhi in January. In June,70 rose-ringed parakeets were seized from Turkman Gate. On December 9,800 live Alexandrine Parakeets were rescued from Jama Masjid

MongooseIn January,20,000 mongoose hair brushes were seized from a manufacturing unit in Bhajanpura. In May,more brushes were seized from a stationery shop in Karol Bagh

FalconsTwo live falcons were rescued from atop a Meerut Roadways bus in Ghaziabad in June by PFA and the police

Pigeons140 pigeons were seized from an Uttarakhand Roadways bus near Moradabad at UP gate police station

Leopard skinsDelhi Crime Branch seized four leopard skins near Rohini in February. In April,another leopard skin was seized in Noida,two more in June from Nehru Place. One more leopard skin was seized from Sunlight Colony.

Otter skinsSeven otter skins were seized from the custody of Tibetan nationals at Majnu Ka Tila in November.

Sambar skinsFour skins were seized in October.

ShellsOn November 18,protected shells and conches were seized from Orissa and Tamil Nadu stalls during the trade fair by the PFA and the police

ShahtooshMore than 100 shahtoosh shawls were seized in over 7 cases.

Red Sanders woodThis expensive red-tinted wood is poached from Andhra Pradesh. 20 metric tonnes of logs were seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in December from Burari.

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