Two nabbed for trying to sell ‘tiger, deer’ skins
Rohini Nair, TNN 7 September 2009, 12:52am IST
MUMBAI: The Amboli police arrested two men for attempting to sell animal skins at Andheri (west) on Saturday. Two skins were recovered from Rahul Bhosle, 25, and Naseer Chavan, 22, and according to the police, preliminary tests showed they were a genuine tiger skin and a deer skin.
“We received information that the men were going to sell animal skins at Veera Desai Road. Our men were posted at the spot and when the two accused tried to sell the skins, we arrested them and seized the skins,” said senior inspector K Gamande.
The Amboli police said they conducted tests using acid on the skins, which indicated that the skins were genuine. However, the final conclusion would be drawn after tests at Borivli national park. “We will be sending the skins to officials at the Borivli national park on Monday for further testing,” said Gamande.
Bhosle, a Malad resident, and Chavan, who lives in a slum near Plaza Cinema in Dadar, sell rudrakshas for a living. They have been charged under the Wildlife Protection Act.
“The wildlife trade is second only to the drug trade, which shows how much of a demand there is for animal skin, claws and horns. These are smuggled out of the country as well,” said Anuradha Sawhney of PETA.
Colonel J C Khanna of the BSPCA added, “People superstitiously consider things like a tiger’s claw or a rhino’s horn lucky. Poachers exploit these myths for their own ends. These cases are rare in Mumbai, but as you travel northwards, the numbers increase.”
“The Wildlife Act of 1972 prohibits such activities, but as long as there is a demand for these products, such cases will keep occurring. That is why our tiger population is on the verge of extinction,” said Sawhney.
According to animal welfare activists, in the quest to make a quick buck, unscrupulous traders also kill strays and dye their skins to resemble tiger skins. Their claws are also sold as tiger claws.