Assam: Wildlife parts seized in Guwahati; 2 ‘poachers’ from Bihar arrested
The arrested poachers

Guwahati: Teams from the Assam forest department and police conducted a joint operation and seized a huge quantity of wildlife articles of several rare species of wild animals on Tuesday night.

The joint operation was carried out by the Guwahati Forest Range under Kamrup East Division, along with the Kamakhya police outpost, based on a tip-off here.

The wildlife items were recovered from a shop near Kamakhya under Khanamukh Beat of Guwahati Forest Range around 8 pm on Tuesday.

Two persons, identified as Santosh Kumar Gupta (44) and Sangit Gupta (35), hailing from Simri village in the Darbhanga district of Bihar, have been arrested in connection with the seizure of the wildlife parts.

“They have been arrested and booked under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as amended up to date, by the Guwahati Forest Range based on a specific input regarding illegal wildlife trade of scheduled species,” a statement issued here said.

The seized items include tiger claws, skull bones and teeth of jackals, spikes of porcupines, genitals of a monitor lizard, deer musk, deer antler, sea cowries, sea conchs, sea fans and corals.

It may be mentioned that the beat officer of Khanamukh, Jintu Talukdar along with Kamakhya police outpost in-charge, sub-inspector Abhilash Talukdar, executed the operation late Tuesday evening under the supervision of divisional forest officer Rohini Ballave Saikia, and range officer, Pranjal Baruah.

“A case (number G/61 of 2023) under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, has been registered and further investigation into the case is underway,” the statement said.

Notably, forest and police personnel have augmented surveillance and execution mechanisms of late and thwarted several bids by wildlife smugglers and poachers to carry out illegal trade of rare wildlife articles and animal parts in the state.

Earlier on January 13, two poachers were apprehended with a rhino horn at Kaliabor in central Assam’s Nagaon district.

A day earlier, three suspected animal poachers were arrested with wild animal parts at Pengeri along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district.

As it is, teams from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) Guwahati, have conducted joint operations along with forest and police personnel across the Northeast and thwarted several bids by poachers and smugglers to engage in such illegal trade. 

Moreover, in August last year, WCCB and biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak, jointly conducted a sensitisation workshop for Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and security personnel engaged with various airlines at the LGBI Airport here, highlighting the need to ramp up vigilance against burgeoning wildlife trafficking.

Increasingly, airports and airlines are being used as international trafficking routes for wildlife products, and in this context, airports in Northeast India, a biodiversity hotspot, are particularly vulnerable to such trafficking.

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