India’s Largest Wildlife Trade Racket Busted

In one of the biggest wildlife cases this decade, the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police with the assistance of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) seized 3 tiger skins and 3 tiger skeletons.

Sixteen people were arrested, including wildlife trader Shabeer Hasan Qureshi who is an accused in at least 4 major wildlife cases. Qureshi is the prime accused in the January 2000 Khaga case when 4 tiger skins and a huge haul of other wildlife products were seized. Three other traders were arrested along with 2 tiger poachers and 10 women couriers who belong to the Baheliya community.

The case is a landmark for wildlife enforcement as it includes the arrest of three key elements of wildlife crime: traders, poachers and couriers.

“This is a major breakthrough in the fight against wildlife crime in India,” said Belinda Wright, Executive Director of WPSI. “Qureshi is the biggest buyer of tiger products in India today. We are delighted with this case and have nothing but praise for the way in which it was handled by the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police. They succeeded by using intelligence-led enforcement which is the only way to effectively tackle this growing menace.”

And on December 17/07
The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) provided intelligence and assisted in a huge wildlife enforcement operation in northern Karnataka in the early hours. Sixty-five skins were seized – one tiger skin, 21 leopard skins and 43 otter skins. A well known wildlife trader called Prabhakar was arrested.

Prabhakar is said to have been in the trade for years. He purchases the skins directly from poachers and allegedly controls most of the illegal wildlife trade in south India. In the past he is known to have supplied skins to the notorious wildlife trader Sansar Chand in Delhi. Prabhakar is an active political worker and is believed to have considerable local support.

The Karnataka Police CID Forest Cell conducted two raids in the town of Hubli and the village of Haliyal. “This second large seizure within just a few days, is a serious wakeup call on how swiftly we are loosing our wildlife to the illegal wildlife trade”,said Belinda Wright, Executive Director of WPSI. “We will loose this great national treasure if we do not make curbing wildlife crime a priority and use intelligence-led enforcement to curb this menace”.
Source: WPSI , reproduced in ISEC Canada’s “Cyber Cats” Newsletter

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