Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Barasingha Antlers Seized in Maharashtra

In a well coordinated operation by People for Animals (PFA) Pune and Amravati Forest Department and Amravati police, a dealer was caught red-handed selling antlers (horns) of a highly endangered species, called swamp deer or more popularly known as the Barasingha.

When the police and the forest department of Amravati came to know about a suspected dealer Bankatlal Daga selling antlers and some rare plant species, they planned an operation to seize the material.

“After getting a tip-off from Nagpur, a team compromising Deputy AWO Apurva Bute and I rushed to Nagpur and followed the tip to Amravati.” said animal welfare officer Manoj Oswal.

At Amravati a deal was made of Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 5000 was paid in advance to gain the confidence of the dealer. The officers later identified themselves and confiscated the antlers and plant species from the seller who unfortunately managed to flee.

A stock of 150 types of plants that was seized from him, had several endangered species covered under Section 38 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The antlers too had blood marks on them, proving that the deer had been cruelly murdered to gain access to the priced antlers.

The Barasingha once roamed freely in the jungles of Northern India and had a population of more than 3000 in 1950. But soon due to need for farmlands, lesser grasslands, hunting, poaching, the number diminished to an alarming 66 in 1970.

Since then, though concentrated efforts have helped the Barasingha survive amidst humans and presently the population stands at around 500 deers.

It is only team efforts like the above mentioned incident that can hamper antler trade and ensure the Barasingha roam the forests for a little more time.

Image Credit
Flickr photo by aloshbennett

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