regular-article-logo Wednesday, 07 June 2023

Three Nepalese citizens arrest with animal skins

The trio were planning to smuggle the hides to Bhutan for their Chinese buyer to collect

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 18.08.22, 02:05 AM
Representational file image

Representational file image

Officials of the Baikunthapur forest division, acting on a tip-off, arrested three Nepalese nationals and seized three animal skins from them on Tuesday evening.

There were two skins of Himalayan Red Panda — an endangered animal species — and another of a full-grown leopard.


The trio had planned to smuggle the skins to Bhutan and there they would have handed them over to a buyer from China, the foresters said.

Based on the information, a team of forest guards led by Sanjay Dutta, a range officer, waited at Shivmandir which is on the outskirts of Siliguri.

“Soon, we spotted the trio on a motorcycle. We gave them a chase and intercepted them at the PWD More area of Siliguri (under New Jalpaiguri police station),” said a forester.

The officials then searched the trio and found the skins. As none could produce any document to prove that they were carrying the skins in a legal manner, all three were arrested. Charges under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, have been levelled against them, the official said.

The arrested persons have been identified as Chandra Prakash Chemjung and Yakpu Sherpa, both residents of the Jhapa district of Nepal, and Gobinda Sanbu Limbu, a resident of Taplejung of Nepal.

According to foresters, the trio is associated with wildlife trafficking. They collect the skins from the forests of Taplejung which is under the Mikwakhola district in Nepal and deliver them to buyers.

“For these skins, they had finalised a deal of Rs 30 lakh,” claimed the forester.

Red pandas are on the verge of extinction and are found in the Darjeeling hills of Bengal, Sikkim and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

“The small mammals are listed as endangered in the red data list of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). In recent years, this is the first time that we have seized red panda skins,” he added.

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