74 rare plants seized in Rahara
30 May 2018

India: Eight pitcher plants that are found in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and two varieties of orchid were seized from a house in Rahara last week.

Stocking or cultivating these outside the wild is banned under the wildlife protection act.

The Orchids seized are Blue Vanda and Ladies Slipper.

Seventy-four plants were seized from Bappa Mandal's house in a raid on Thursday, an official of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) said.

Of the 74, there were eight pitcher plants, 49 Blue Vanda and 17 Ladies Slipper, the official said.

All these plants are protected under Schedule VI of the wildlife protection act. "Trading or having them without valid permission or even plucking them from the wild is prohibited under the law," Agni Mitra, deputy director, east, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, said.

The bureau functions under the environment ministry.

Mitra said one could have these plants only with the permission of the chief wildlife warden of the state. But possession can be allowed only for research and educational purposes.

When Mandal failed to provide any documents to show he had the permission, he was detained and later fined Rs 25,000.

"He wanted to commercially exploit the plants by selling them," a member of the bureau's raiding team said.

On Tuesday, the bureau made arrangements for the plants to be rehabilitated in the wild.

The orchids are headed to Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district. The two varieties of orchids grow naturally at the Himalayan foothills; which is why they are being rehabilitated at the Buxa Tiger Reserve.

The pitcher plants will be handed over to the forest department of Meghalaya. "This plant is found only in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya," a bureau official said.

(Source: The Telegraph)