Ivory worth Rs 8 lakh seized in Jalpaiguri
One of the people arrested has been smuggling ivory for a long time. The latest ivory consignment was on its way to Bhutan and then on to Chinakolkata Updated: Aug 05, 2015 17:50 IST
Ivory worth Rs 8 lakh, which was on its way to Bhutan, was seized in Jalpaiguri by forest department officials.
“Poachers had killed two elephants at Buxa forest. The tusks were cut and packed in boxes and on its way to Bhutan,” said forest minister Hiten Burman. Acting on a tip off, Jalpaiguri forest department officials stopped a car coming from Buxa forest reserve. There were three men in the car and a bag containing ivory.
“We have found five pieces of ivory from the bag. The smugglers said that they were going to hand over the ivory to a contact in Siliguri. The ivory weighed 4 kg and the smugglers said they would sell it at Rs 2 lakh per kg,” said a forest department official.
The arrested have been identified as Pijush Bose, a resident of Alipurduar, Gautam Kanki, a resident of Buxa and Ashok Thapa of Rajabhatkhawa in North Bengal. “Ashok Thapa is the son of a forest guard in Buxa reserve,” said the official.
According to the official, Kanki is the key man of the group. He would hire poachers to kill the elephants. “Kanki has been smuggling ivory for a long time. The latest ivory consignment was on its way to Bhutan and then on to China,” said the official.
Bhutan has become a hub in the wildlife trade. According to wildlife department officials, bear gallbladders are being smuggled into India from Bhutan. “The gallbladders are used in producing medicine. Geckos, snake and leopard skins are also smuggled into Bhutan,” the official said. According to sources, Kanki has links with Assambased poachers and sometimes he would procure ivory from them and sell it to Bhutan.
“North Bengal has turned into a safe corridor for wildlife smugglers and it is a gateway to Bhutan. A strong nexus has been for med between wildlife smugglers in Bhutan and India.