Delhi is an unsafe city, not only for its citizens but also for animals belonging to endangered species.
From mongoose brushes to wild geese and from ivory products to cobra venom being used for recreational drug abuse, the Capital has seen around 150 to 200 criminal cases related to illegal trafficking of animals being registered in 2011.
“The city is a major transit point for trafficking of endangered animals and their derivatives. Most smuggled animals and products made from their derivatives find their way into Delhi from western Uttar Pradesh and the tribal areas of Rajasthan,” said Gaurav Gupta, president, People for Animals (PFA).
Sourced from areas which are relatively rich in flora and fauna, these animals or their products, Gupta said, are then smuggled into Nepal by road before finding their way into the international grey market.
“On November 27, two men were arrested from Shahdara for trying to smuggle venom derived from about a 100 cobras which they had transported to Delhi on an interstate bus from Meerut. The venom would have later been sent to Nepal,” Gupta said. Meanwhile, two raids made jointly by the NGO and local police as recently till Friday led to the seizure of animals and their products estimated to be worth more than Rs50 crore.
These however, were not bound beyond the city, but were the property of some ‘connoisseurs’ affluent enough to afford to live dangerously.
“On Friday, we recovered wild geese, ivory statues and even two ostriches from a businessman’s residence on Feroze Shah Road. These are estimated to be upwards of R10 lakh,” said Gupta.
Earlier, on September 13, four elephant tusks — each weighing about 20kg — several ivory trinkets, a tiger head trophy, a zebra hide, air guns and clubs worth crores had been recovered from the Sarvpriya Vihar residence of a former diplomat’s son.