38 bear gallbladders, 8 leopard hides, 4 musk deer pods; seizure ‘first of its kind’ in Kashmir
Shopian: In the biggest-ever seizure in Kashmir of wild animal parts, officials of the Wildlife department on Saturday recovered several leopard hides, bear gallbladders, and musk deer pods from a residential house in Shirpora village in southern Kashmir’s Anantnag district. One person was arrested and a case under relevant sections of law registered by the police.
A wildlife official said that there was specific information about the hides and other wild animal body parts, based on which the house was raided by wildlife officials along with police.
“Eight leopard hides, four musk deer pods, and 38 bear gallbladders were found in the house,” said Rouf Zargar, Wildlife Warden Anantnag. He said that the gallbladders seem very old, almost eight years old.
The arrested person has been identified as Gul Mohammad Ganai, son of Abdul Rehman Ganai, resident of Shirpora Anantnag.
Dildar Hussain, Wildlife Range Officer, told Kashmir Reader that the arrested person was under surveillance for the past six months. “We raided his house before the snowfall earlier this month, but he escaped at that time. Later we put more surveillance on him and today he was caught and the seizures were made,” he said, adding that such a large seizure was the first of its kind in Kashmir.
Hussain said that as per the preliminary investigation, nomads coming from Rajouri and other parts are involved in this. “They have collected these hides and other body parts from different areas of Kashmir,” he said.
Hussain ruled out any large conspiracy or involvement of influential people in the case.
However, a senior wildlife expert, wishing anonymity, told Kashmir Reader that there is organised poaching in Kashmir. “Not only in south Kashmir, in the whole Kashmir wildlife contraband is being collected by an organised mafia. There is heavy international demand for wild animal parts and for many years such seizures have been common in India,” he said, adding that killing of wild animals is mostly done for trade and not for the sake of hunting.
The recovery has been made at a time when wildlife in Kashmir is under severe threat due to encroachments from both local people and the army, as well as of illegal construction of different government and private structures and laying of roads in wildlife habitations.