India: Over 29,000 paintbrushes made of mongoose fur were seized in the state on Thursday under Operation Clean Art carried out by the forest department along with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and volunteers of a city-based NGO.
The authorities had got information that paintbrushes made from the fur of the Indian grey mongoose or common mongoose was being sold at a few stores. A 15-member team conducted raids at 22 locations across the state and arrested 15 men under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. “These species are common, but not in focus, hence the motive of this action was to highlight how illegal trade is done and animals killed. If the slaughter of these animals continues, there are chances of them becoming endangered,” said Jitendra Ramgaokar, deputy conservator of forests (Thane).
The operation was conducted along with WCCB and volunteers of Wildlife Welfare Association (WWA) on October 24.
“We have been conducting a survey since January to track down the sellers. We identified a few shops and initially took samples of these brushes which were sent for forensics examination by the forest department. The reports showed the brushes were made of the mammal’s fur. Approximately 60 mongooses are killed for around 1kg fur. A paint brush, depending on its width and type.
“In Andheri, we posed as customers and nabbed the accused at the railway station. Later, at his residence we came across over 1,000 brushes. We learnt the manufacturing is mainly done at Sherkot in Bijnor, UP. As the mongoose is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, killing it attracts a minimum imprisonment of three years, extending up to seven years,” said M Maranko, regional deputy director, WCCB, western region.
(Source: The Times of India)