650 mongooses killed for 29,166 fur paint brushes seized across Maharashtra: WCCBUpdated: Oct 26, 2019, 00:44 IST
Wildlife enforcement agencies on Thursday seized 29,166 paint brushes made out of mongoose fur in Maharashtra, with 18,924 brushes (65%) from Mumbai alone. This is the largest unique seizure for Maharashtra and 15 people have been arrested.
The seizure was part of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) pan-India operation to stop illegal wildlife trade in mongoose hair. Maharashtra ranked the highest with 29,166 paint brushes seized followed by Uttar Pradesh (24,060 brushes seized; 26 arrested), Tamil Nadu (1,014 brushes seized; six arrested), and Rajasthan (110 brushes seized; two arrested).
Altogether, 54,352 brushes accounting for 133 kg were seized across Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. Forty-nine people have been arrested. All seizures were done on Thursday.
“This is the second consecutive year when we seized large quantities of mongoose hair brushes closer to Diwali when this network is active across India,” said Tilotama Verma, additional director, WCCB.
The WCCB along with Maharashtra forest department and the non-governmental organisation Wildlife Welfare Association (WWA) seized paint brushes from Lower Parel, Dadar, Mira Road, Goregaon, Dombivli, and Andheri in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. While five were arrested by Mumbai and Thane forest rangers, three people were arrested from Pune, four from Sawantwadi, and three from Aurangabad.
“This is the largest such seizure on record so far from Maharashtra and Mumbai,” said M Maranko, regional deputy director, WCCB.
According to the WCCB, fur from one average-sized mongoose is equivalent to approximately 45 paint brushes. Paintbrushes made of mongoose hair are preferred over synthetic brushes for the typical characteristic resilience, holding capacity and the sharp finishing rendered by them.
“The manufacturing source for these brushes is in Sherkot town in Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh, where we had seized 155 kg raw mongoose fur and over 55,000 paint brushes last year. Seizures were carried across 10 factories in Sherkot this year. We enforced a crackdown on major network in south and central India through a year-long planned raids,” said Verma.
India is home to six species of mongooses but the Indian Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii) is the most common in trade. All mongoose species are listed in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and violations attract a minimum imprisonment of three years which may extend to seven years.