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3 Bhutanese Nationals Held in India for Wildlife Smuggling

© AFP 2022 / Biju BOROIndian one-horned rhino crosses a path in Kaziranga National Park, some 250kms east of Guwahati (File)
Indian one-horned rhino crosses a path in Kaziranga National Park, some 250kms east of Guwahati (File) - Sputnik International
Although banned, illegal poaching of designated animal organs, especially of those categorized as endangered species, is a flourishing trade.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Officials from the Jalpaiguri district in the eastern state of West Bengal swooped down on three Bhutanese citizens and arrested them for possessing animal parts that are contraband, IANS reported.

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The officials conducted a search operation in the Dooars area of the district acting on a tip-off.

Sanjay Dutta, the range officer, said: "We have recovered a bag having one rhino horn weighing 1,030 grams and an elephant tusk weighing about 500 grams".

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The destination of the illegal consignment was Nepal, where the organs would have been sold for Rs 5 million ($ 72,100 approx.).

India has requisite laws in place to regulate and restrict trade in wildlife. Under the umbrella Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the country has a strong legal and policy framework prohibiting trade in over 1,800 species of wild animals, plants and their derivatives.

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But the soaring prices of wildlife animal parts have emboldened poachers to take risks, resulting in a spurt in illegal smuggling. A decade or so ago, they usually got about Rs 50,000 ($720 approx.) for a rhino. They now get around Rs 200,000 ($2,900 approx.) for doing the same job.

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