Forest department busts organised wildlife trafficking in Meghalaya
The Wildlife Wing of the Forest and Environment Department with the assistance of the Meghalaya Police and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) seized a huge quantity of live animals and articles of endangered species listed in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 in two separate incidents.
On receipt of a specific input that certain persons are involved in organised trade and trafficking of wild animals and articles, on April 19, a joint team of the Forest and Environment Department, Meghalaya Police and the WCCB led by I. Arul Mathuram, IFS, Divisional Forest Officer, Khasi Hills Wildlife Division raided the house of one Victorious Masharing at Khiehumstem village in Ri-Bhoi district.
On searching the house, the team found 44.64 kg scales of Chinese Pangolin, four live Chinese Pangolins and 43 Tokay Geckos. An electronic weighing scale used to weigh the animals and articles was also found in the house.
Apart from Victorious Masharing, seven other persons, identified as Pynshngianlang Sten, Fieldstar Lyngdoh, Banker Ronghang, Darwin Phangcho, Edison Teron, Klinson Bey and Siparlin Rani were also present in the house.
The team arrested all the eight persons and seized the articles and live animals along with the weighing scale, utensils used to keep the live Pangolins, seven mobile phones, Rs twenty-five thousand five hundred in cash, one brown colour bag and three vehicles bearing registration numbers AS 025 -0127, ML-10 A 9330 and ML-10 C 4056 found parked in the house of Victorious Masharing at the time of the raid.
After completion of the raid, they brought the arrested persons along with the seized articles to Shillong.
The Tokay Geckos were packed in bamboo pieces in a very inhumane condition. One of the live Pangolins was severely injured and even after providing the best possible care by the Department Veterinarian succumbed to the injuries before it could be released in the wild after obtaining permission from the Court.
Victorious Masharing is presently serving in the Assam Rifles.
The Session Judge, Ri-Bhoi District, Nongpoh remanded all the eight persons to judicial custody for seven days. Further investigation to find out the origin and potential buyers of these articles and other persons involved in trafficking is in progress.
In another incident, on April 20, the Wildlife Wing of the Forest and Environment Department received information that some persons are likely to transport a consignment of elephant tusks through the Patharkhmah–Umling Road. Accordingly, a joint team of the Nongpoh Wildlife Range, Nongpoh Police Station, and the WCCB laid a trap at Umling.
At about 9.30 PM the team arrested two persons namely, Pyndap Wahlang and Last Sylliang and recovered two elephant tusks, having a total weight of about 3.3 kg from a Maruti Alto 800 car bearing registration Number ML-10 C 2505 coming from the Patharkhmah-Umling Road.
On enquiry, both these persons could not produce any documentary evidence to support the lawful possession of these tusks. The team, therefore, seized both these tusks and car along with two mobile phones in possession of these two persons.
The arrested persons along with the seized articles were brought to the Nongpoh Wildlife Range.
Further investigation to find out the origin and potential buyers of the tusks is in progress.
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