With officials of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) repeatedly seizing parcels containing dried animal and plant parts addressed to recipients in the US, the West Bengal capital seems to have become a gateway for smuggling floral and faunal gene samples from the Northeast to places abroad.
Most of these parcels seemed to have originated from anonymous people in Mizoram.
WCCB officials in Kolkata seized at least 50 such consignments from the foreign post office at Dumdum airport over the last two years.
"Interestingly, these packets contained animal and plant parts that are generally not of a high value in the international market - dried rodents, dried frogs, dried meat, herbal powder, seeds, herbs, bones, etc," a senior WCCB official said.
"This trend needs to be investigated," B Pishupati, chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority, said. Multinational firms have been using genetic material from developing nations as the basis for patents and commercial products, often without consulting the nations of origin.