Elephant ivory seized from an Assam tea laden truck

Elephant ivory seized from an Assam tea laden truck

Elephant ivory seized by DRI office, Siliguri, North Bengal on Wednesday. Photo credit: DRI, Siliguri

Elephant ivory, weighing 16.962kgs, concealed in a truck carrying Assam tea was seized from a Kolkata-bound truck near Siliguri in North Bengal on Thursday.

The ivory was extracted after killing elephants in the jungles of Assam and was meant for smuggling to South East Asian countries via Bangladesh, officials of the directorate of revenue intelligence here said.

Acting on specific information, the DRI sleuths stopped the vehicle in the outskirts of Siliguri on Wednesday and seized four pieces of the ivory.

"During interrogation, the driver of the vehicle confessed that the elephant tusks were handed over to him at Baihata Chariali in North Assam by one person of Guwahati for transporting them to Kolkata," said the official.

This is the third major seizure of elephant ivory by DRI in the same route since February last year. The agency had seized nearly five kgs of ivory from Guwahati railway station in February and another 12-kgs near Siliguri in May.The DRI have seized 38.604 kgs of ivory in the route in the past one year.

Indian (Asian) elephant is listed in Appendix l of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES) and also listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, under which sale and export of wildlife parts is prohibited. As per the ITC (HS) Classifications for Imports under Schedule I of the Import Policy of the Government of India, the import of wild animals (including their parts and products) as defined in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 is prohibited. 

The ivory costs about 1.69 crores in the international market, said the DRI official.