Shillong: In a major blow to animal trafficking in the state, Meghalaya Forest Department busted an organised trafficking racket from the house of an Assam Rifles’ jawan and seized live animals and articles of endangered species in large numbers in two separate incidents.

On receipt of a specific input on April 19, a joint team of the forest department, Meghalaya Police and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), led by Arul Mathuram, Divisional Forest Officer, Khasi Hills Wildlife Division, raided the house of Victorious Masharing at Khliehumstem village in Ri-Bhoi district.

The team found 44.64 kg scales of Chinese Pangolin, four live Chinese Pangolins and 43 Tokay Geckos. An electronic weighing scale used to weigh the animals, utensils used to keep the live Pangolins, seven mobile phones, Rs 25,500 in cash, one brown colour bag and three vehicles bearing registration numbers AS 025 -0127, ML-10 A -9330 and ML 10 C 4056 parked in the house were also recovered.

Apart from Masharing, who is an Assam Rifles jawan, seven other persons, identified as Pynshngianlang Sten, Fieldstar Lyngdoh, Banker Ronghang, Darwin Phangcho, Edison Teron, Klinson Bey and Siparlin Rani were also present in the house. The team arrested all the eight persons.

After completion of the raid, they brought the arrested persons along with the seized articles to Shillong.

According to a statement, the Tokay Geckos were packed in bamboo pieces in an inhumane condition. One of the live Pangolins was severely injured and even after providing the best possible care by the Department Veterinarian succumbed to the injuries before it could be released in the wild after obtaining permission from the Court.

The Sessions Judge, Ri-Bhoi District, Nongpoh remanded all the eight persons to judicial custody for seven days.

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In another incident, on April 20, the forest department received information about a consignment of elephant tusks being transported through Patharkhmah–Umling Road. Accordingly, a joint team of Nongpoh Wildlife Range, Nongpoh Police Station, and the WCCB laid a trap at Umling.

At about 9.30 PM, the team arrested two persons namely, Pyndap Wahlang and Last Sylliang and recovered two elephant tusks, having a total weight of about 3.3 kg from a Maruti Alto 800 car bearing registration Number ML 10 C 2505.

On enquiry, they could not produce any documentary evidence to support the lawful possession of these tusks. The team, therefore, seized both these tusks and car along with two mobile phones in possession of these two accused. The team also arrested both Wahlang and Sylliang and brought them to the Nongpoh Wildlife Range along with the seized articles.

Further investigation to find out the origin and potential buyers in both the incident is in progress.

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