Northeast Customs department seizes 28 kg of ivory from Assam - Hindustan Times
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Northeast Customs department seizes 28 kg of ivory from Assam

ByDavid Laitphlang
May 30, 2024 04:10 PM IST

With recent amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act effective from 1 April 2023, customs officers have been empowered with enhanced authority to combat domestic illegal wildlife trade

Amid concerted efforts to combat wildlife smuggling and protect the country’s biodiversity, the customs department on Wednesday confiscated 27.992 kg of ivory and apprehending one individual from Assam.

The seized elephant tusks. (Sourced photo)
The seized elephant tusks. (Sourced photo)

“Acting on intelligence regarding illicit ivory trade, the Customs (Preventive) HQ officers in Shillong swiftly moved to Biswanath Chariali in Assam. Through a meticulously planned operation, they intercepted the individual in possession of four cut pieces of tusks (ivory) from Indian (Asian) Elephants (Elephas maximus), totaling 27.992 kilograms. Elephant tusks, classified under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) of 1972, were seized under Section 50 of the WLPA (amended in 1972), and the case was transferred to wildlife authorities. Customs acknowledges the support of Biswanath Police and Forest authorities in this operation,” the Customs (North Eastern Region), headquartered in Shillong, said.

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With recent amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act effective from 1 April 2023, customs officers have been empowered with enhanced authority to combat domestic illegal wildlife trade. Leveraging these provisions, officers actively pursue operations to intercept illicitly traded wildlife items.

In the past year, the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive), NER has made several seizures, including pangolin scales totaling 68.87 kg, 11.536 kg of Ambergris (whale vomit), 360 gm of elephant tusk, as well as seizures of protected exotic species such as hornbills, flame bowerbirds, and a baby orangutan, in operations spanning Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Assam. These species are protected under CITES and the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

“Customs remains steadfast in its commitment to combat wildlife crime, including cross-border trafficking, and endeavors to collaborate closely with various law enforcement agencies in this endeavour,” the communique added.

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