India: The air intelligence unit (AIU) of Mumbai customs seized 100kg of peacock feathers from four individuals at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on Monday. The persons carrying the feathers were travelling to Dubai.
Maharashtra forest department confirmed this as the largest seizure of peacock feathers from smugglers in Mumbai.
Peacocks are protected under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and export of their feathers is prohibited under India’s export-import (Exim) policy, as confirmed by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB). However, trade in naturally-shed feathers is not a crime under the WPA.
The four Dubai-bound passengers, three from Uttar Pradesh and one from Kerala, were intercepted by customs carrying the feathers in six bags, said Vignesh S, deputy commissioner (AIU), Mumbai customs. “The seized material was handed over to the forest department for further investigation,” he said.
Sameer Inamdar, round forest officer, Mumbai range, confirmed that the feathers were properly cut up when seized. He and three beat officers took the four flyers in for questioning to determine the source of the feathers. “The item is exempted under WPA so we cannot arrest or detain them. The persons involved have given us a few leads and we are investigating the source,” said Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forest, Thane range.
“No cases of peacock or peafowl deaths have been reported along the west coast, but we are monitoring [smuggling] cases carefully,” said M Maranko, regional deputy director (west), WCCB.
(Source: The Hindustan Times)