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Raid on Forest Officer’s House yields Rs 2 Crore in Cash, Gold and Animal Parts in Assam

After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court

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Seized tiger skin Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Assam Police recovered animal parts, Rs 2 crore in cash and gold from two residences of a divisional forest officer (DFO) of Assam
  • He was initially caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officers while accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 each from three truckers
  • After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court on June 14, which has sent him to police remand

GUWAHATI: Assam Police have recovered animal parts including tiger skin, deer skin, ivory, Rs 2 crore in cash and about 1kg of gold jewellery from two residences of a Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Assam.

According to The Indian Express report, Mahat Chandra Talukdar, who has been posted as the divisional forest officer in northern Assam’s Dhemaji since 2014, was initially caught red-handed by the anti-corruption officers while accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 each from three truckers, who transport forest produce, at his office on June 13.

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“We have arrested him after he was caught while accepting bribe. We raided his house on Monday evening. First, we raided his house in Dhemaji and then in Guwahati. We have seized the amount, his personal vehicles and other documents and bank passbooks. There were allegations against him that he demanded bribe from three suppliers. Investigating the matter, we have caught him red-handed,” said Assam Police PRO Rajib Saikia to Deccan Herald.

Pallet of seized raw ivory in US Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Pallet of seized raw ivory in US Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the next 24 hours, he was taken to Guwahati and his two residences in Dhemaji and Guwahati were raided where the police found the cash, gold and parts of wild animals. Also, the police did not rule out the possibility of him being linked to poachers considering the 89 rhinos who were killed by poachers from 1989-1983 in Kaziranga National Park where he was serving at that time. A rhino horn could be priced for Rs 1 crore in the international black market.

Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said the arrested DFO could not get away. “He has been placed under suspension. We will go hard on all those who are involved in corrupt practices,” she said.

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After being suspended by the State government, Talukdar was produced in a special court on 14 June which has sent him to police remand.

After this case of corruption which was linked to Wildlife, the Gauhati High Court had asked the state government to frame appropriate rules under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, authorizing police to file charge-sheets in cases of wildlife crime.

-prepared by Pashchiema Bhatia, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Zimbabwe Educates Against Poaching

The Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage is home to 25 animal species, some endangered, some rescued from poachers

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Animals outdoors at Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city on April 20, 2019. The orphanage is home to 25 species, some endangered, some rescued from poachers. VOA

An animal orphanage in Zimbabwe is one of the organizations leading efforts to ensure poaching and development do not wipe out the wildlife of the southern African nation.

About half an hour drive southeast of Bulawayo is a special orphanage caring for abandoned and injured animals. The Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage is home to 25 animal species, some endangered, some rescued from poachers.

Vivian and Paddy Wilson established the orphanage in 1973 and a second generation now runs it. Chipangali’s co-director Nicky Wilson explains what motivated her in-laws to begin rescuing wildlife.

“(When) Chipangali was formed there was only CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife), which was in Durban (South Africa) and Daphne Sheldrick Orphanage in Kenya. There was no other places where you would put animals that wouldn’t survive in the wild,” Wilson said.

Animals are brought to Chipangali after being injured, seized, or orphaned, says Wilson. Some are later released into the wild, and some are not.

“Some birds might have flown into power lines and are missing part of their wings, they won’t be able to be released. We also have baby animals, sometimes if they are reared, they become too tame and assume that every human is friendly, unfortunately that is not the case in our world. So, they will stay here permanently and utilize them for our education,” Wilson said.

The oldest resident of the orphanage is a crocodile rescued four decades ago from a community angry it was eating their goats and cattle.

The locals wanted to kill the crocodile, believed to be in its 90s, but at Chipangali it was made part of the education program for visitors. Wilson shows visiting journalists a display of animal fetuses, removed from mothers that died in poacher’s snares.

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Nicky Wilson, co-director Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage about half an hour drive southeast of Bulawayo a special orphanage caring for the abandoned and injured offspring of local animals on April 20, 2019. VOA

“We are obviously trying to educate mainly locals and anyone who comes visit us here at Chipangali into the importance of Zimbabwe wildlife heritage. Tourists would not come and visit Zimbabwe if it weren’t for the big five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and then rhino. Because without our wildlife, they wouldn’t come to Zimbabwe. So we are trying to tell people to look after our animals,” Wilson said.

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Since its creation, Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage has rescued and released numerous animals into the nearby Matobo National Park. They include several troops of vervet monkeys and baboons, more than 30 pangolins, five leopards, 20 cheetahs, and various antelopes, small carnivores, and birds of prey. (VOA)