Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Michigan State University; Independent journalist - environment, science and international news.

Fellow - International League of Conservation Writers.

Member - Society of Environmental Journalists, International Communication Association.

20kgs of Tiger Bones Caught in a Consignment

http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/assam-tiger-skull-pangolin-scales-seized-from-airport-32803.php?u=2001


Over the last few days a series of raids in Guwahati have helped the investigative agency. The is perhaps the biggest seizure of tiger parts in recent times. 

Twenty kilograms of tiger skull and bones seized in the last four days from the Guwahati airport, valued at Rs 2 crore in the international market.

Ten grams of tiger parts sell at an estimated cost of 20 USD.

Commenting on the seizure, Sukanta Das, Superintendent Anti Smuggling Unit, Customs and Central Excise said,"It's an entire skeleton and it's a Royal Bengal Tiger as determined from the features of its skull."
      
Given the fact that the consignment was coming from Dimapur in Nagaland, central wildlife agencies suspect that the tigers may have been poached in Kaziranga. 

Kaziranga National Park has amongst the highest density of tigers in India, but it is also vulnerable to poaching.
 
"Dimapur is the hub of poachers. All these parts were on their way to China, because it was consigned to Imphal and from Imphal it goes via Moreh and to Myanmar and then to China," said Sukanta Das.
    
Along with tigers the consignments contained 555 kilograms of pangolin scales. Pangolins are protected under Schedule One of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act. Its scales have a huge demand in China as traditional medicines. A kilogram of Pangolin scales is estimated to fetch around Rs 60,000.

From the enforcement perspective this seizure of tiger bones is very critical. It confirms the route of wildlife trade and establishes the fact that tiger trade is active in these parts. But the seizure must be followed up with investigation. 

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