Seahorses confiscated at Nathula border in Sikkim Credit: East Mojo image

Sikkim: The Indo-China International Nathula Trade is once again in news, but for all the wrong reasons. On October 31, the Custom officials seized 56 kilograms of seahorse, worth Rs 56 lakh in international market, preliminary reports say.

The goods were seized at Sherathang, which is the main route for Indo-China trade.

Sources said that the consignment was loaded in a border-bound vehicle, own by a Chinese trader, at the time of seizure. Furthermore, a team of Intelligence Bureau officials has confiscated the seahorses.

The name of the persons apprehended are yet to be known but sources confirmed that those apprehended are residents of Sikkim. Source also informed that the seahorses were brought packed in a carton from Kolkata via New Jalpaiguri station. The seized seahorses will be handed over to the State Forest Department on November 1.

Hunting and possession of seahorses are banned in the country since they are classified as Schedule-I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the persons apprehended with the endangered species are likely to face criminal charges.

Meanwhile, state forest minister Tshering Wangdi Lepcha confirmed the news and said “I have been informed by the Custom officials that they have seized 56 kg of seahorses and it will be handed over to the forest department on November 1.”

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