Mongoose Hair paint brushes seized in raid

Published on Apr 28, 2004 12:08 AM IST

Forest and police officials raided a clandestine mongoose hair brush making factory at Vikas Nagar near Dehradun.

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Forest and police officials raided a clandestine mongoose hair brush making factory at Vikas Nagar near Dehradun, in the northern Indian Uttaranchal state. The owner of the factory was arrested and 425 finished mongoose hair brushes were seized. The seizure was assisted by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

It was known for many years that mongoose hair was being used to make the cheapest available painting brushes in the market, used primarily by schoolchildren. It was, however, not documented how widespread the trade was, or what was the impact on the species. In April 2002, a study into the trade was initiated by filmmaker Syed Fayaz and the Wildlife Trust of India.

The trade was documented, the centres of trade and manufacturing were located, and footage was recorded. The footage, made into a short documentary titled "A Brush with Death", was shown to officials of Ministry of Environment and Forests, the media, and the public. Following this WTI launched a campaign among schoolchildren asking them not to buy these brushes.

Wildlife authorities were alerted and there were simultaneous raids in New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Kolkata, and two important locations in Uttar Pradesh - Moradabad and Sherkote.

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