Following stern directive from Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, the Bihar forest department cracked down against Dolphin poachers and seized 20 kilograms of dolphin oil during raids at village Islamganj under Maner police station, 30 kms from Patna.
The Centre has declared dolphin national aquatic animal.
The team arrested Munna Sahni from Takiapar area under Danapur police station for his alleged involvement in the killing of dolphins and sale of its oil. The officers also recovered three kilograms of oil from his possession.
"On a tip-off from Babulal Sahni, a local fisherman, our team raided two houses at Maner in the wee hours on Wednesday. Three fishing nets were also found there, but no arrest could be made as nobody was present at that time," Surendra Singh, the Patna DFO said.
"We went there pretending to be purchasers of dolphin oil. We bargained with Munna and finalised a deal. When Sahni came up with oil, we caught him red handed. His trial will be conducted in the Danapur CJM court under the Wildlife Protection Act," he said.
The oil extracted from the fat of the endangered animal is being increasingly used in several so called medicines prepared by self-styled 'naturopaths' in some narrow lanes of the densely populated localities of Patna City, Danapur and other areas in Patna.
"We have some fixed clients. They purchase dolphin oil to prepare medicines to cure joint pains. I do not know whether the oil is effective or not, but there is a huge demand for dolphin oil among quacks and hakims in Subzibagh, Sultanganj and other areas. We have clients also in Kolkata and Delhi, who come here to purchase oil. We get dolphin oil from fishermen, who kill the animal and provide us oil and other material," a dolphin oil seller from Darzee Tola at Sabzibagh said on condition of anonymity. A Ganga dolphin weighs nearly 100 kilograms with 80 percent of the body composed of fat. The poachers extract oil by melting the fat. "The oil is sold at Rs 450 to Rs 800 per kilogram among local clients while those from Kolkata and Delhi pay between Rs 700 to Rs 1,500 for the same," he said.