GUWAHATI: Most of the new wildlife smugglers in Assam have entered the one-way dark tunnel with a dead end in pursuit of easy money within a short period, informed sources in intelligence agencies. The alarm bells have been already sounded by the Assam Police, DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence), WCCB (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau), and the Forest department.
Sources informed The Sentinel that a section of militant organizations of the Northeast are involved in the multi-crore smuggling business in the region that has links also with the international black market. For instance, pangolins from the region are smuggled to China. Parts of pangolin are used for the preparation of various traditional medicines there.
Ivories are smuggled to West Bengal and Nepal where ornaments are carved out from this item, besides other South East Asian countries. This was revealed during grilling of a six-member poacher gang that was arrested in Kaziranga National Park recently. One of the poachers confessed that the horn of the rhinoceros killed in the Park on May 3, was smuggled to Vietnam, informed Forest officials.
Mentionably, another rhino was killed in the Park on August 7. Though Forest personnel arrested seven poachers involved in the incident from various places in KarbiAnglong, the horn is yet to be located.
Data of Forest, DRI, and WCCB mention that from March till October 2020, altogether seven geckos were seized from three persons at Khetri in Kamrup (Metro) in March.
In June, a pangolin was recovered from two persons in Guwahati and a huge quantity of venison (deer meat) was seized from two persons at Bihali in BiswanathChariali district.
In July, a penguin, four macaws, three tortoises, and two Capuchin monkeys were seized from two persons (both from South India) at Dhalai in Cachar district in July;
In August, four elephant tusks (ivories) were recovered from four persons in two operations at Runikhata in Chirang; a tortoise from a person at Harmati in Lakhimpur district; and 50 kg of venison from three persons at Orang in Udalguri district; and 10 kg of dolphin meat from a person at Bongaigaon.
In September, two elephants tusks were seized from four person at Kokrajhar; and two more tusks were recovered from two persons at Baksa district. A pangolin was also seized from three persons at Jagiroad. Pangolin skin (5.7 kg) was recovered from five persons in Hojai. Moreover, 45 kg of venison was seized from a person in Orang.
In October, a huge cache of dead snakes and lizards of various species were seized from a researcher at Lachit Nagar in Guwahati. Besides, 16 tiger teeth were found four persons in Diphu.
Intelligence sources on conditions of anonymity further said that grilling of the arrested poachers and smugglers revealed that they were motivated to carry on such activities by members of various smuggling gangs. They also said that steps are on to closely monitor such activities, adding that network among the intelligence and security agencies have been intensified.