|Huge number of seized leopard claws puzzles Forest officials
Kochi, December 4, 2013
K. S. Sudhi
Import from Sudan, forgery are possibilities, say experts
seizure of over 1,000 “leopard claws” from Guruvayur has landed the
Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department in a fix as conflicting theories
are being floated about the authenticity of the seized material and
While some senior forest officials dismissed it
as a possible case of fake claws, the officials involved in the seizure
said that there was primary information that the claws were imported
At the same time, some wildlife forensic experts
believed that there existed the possibility of animals being killed
over a period of time from across the country.
Ernakulam-based Flying Squad of the Forest Department, which made the
seizure, had also taken three persons into custody while they were
attempting to sell the claws, which were to be used as ornaments.
to a senior wildlife official, at least 50 leopards would have to be
killed for obtaining 1,000 claws and it would not be a mean task to
hunt them, extract the claws and market them.
Only organised and big time operators involved in wildlife crimes could carry out such activities.
a task was highly improbable in the country considering the risk
involved in the poaching at different locations and disposal of the
carcass without being detected.
The whole story defied the realm of reality and possibility and could be a case of people attempting to sell fake claws.
The seized materials would be analysed at forensic labs shortly, he said.