The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on Sunday said they have seized from West Bengal’s Alipurduar district a consignment of wildlife products worth Rs 3.51 crore which were to be smuggled from to China through Bhutan. Personnel of the paramilitary force’s 53 Battalion also arrested two traffickers, identified as Dhiren Barman and Dhalu Barman, on Saturday afternoon on a tip-off, an SSB official said. The seized wildlife products include a rhino horn worth Rs 4.64 lakh, four Tokay Geckos worth Rs 3 crore and one reindeer horn estimated at Rs 51,000.
“The total valuation of Tokay Gecko lizards and seized wildlife products as calculated by forest officials according to international market rate is Rs 3,51,56,666. The seized lizards and the wildlife products were to be smuggled from India to China through Bhutan,” the official said. The items are used for preparing medicines in China, he said. According to the official, the geckos, rhinos and reindeer are found in Jaldapara forest and Buxa Tiger reserve in West Bengal and are smuggled through the Alipurduar route to Bhutan. “From Bhutan they were sent to China,” the official said.
The arrested traffickers, who were later handed over to West Bengal forest department, informed interrogators that they usually get Rs 5 to 20 lakh per gecko as per its weight. The SSB, which is mandated to guard 1,751 km India-Nepal and 699 km India-Bhutan international borders, in May had seized some Tokay geckos and two jars of snake venom approximately worth Rs 70 crore.