‘Whale vomit’ worth Rs. 8.20 crore seized !
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‘Whale vomit’ worth Rs. 8.20 crore seized !

August 7, 2021

Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru Forest Department Flying Squad has seized ambergris, commonly known as ‘whale vomit’, worth around Rs. 8.20 crore from a group of people who were found selling it near Kushalnagar in Kodagu. Found floating in the tropical sea or at times settled on the coast, ambergris is in high demand in the international markets. 

As per forest officials, this is the first time a group selling ambergris has been caught in the old Mysuru region. The four-member group was apprehended after an operation conducted by Forest Flying Squad and one more accused is absconding. 

One kilogram of ambergris is worth Rs. 1 crore in the international market and here a seizure of 8.250 kgs has been made and as per the international market, the price would be Rs. 8.20 crore, said officials. 

The accused have been identified as Riaz of Koynadu village in Kodagu, K.A. Ibrabhim of Hodavada village in Kodagu, B.E. Rafiq and Tahir Nakash of Seventh Hoskote at Kushalnagar in Kodagu and K.M. George of Kunnaparambail at Iriti village in Kannur district in Kerala. 

The first accused Riaz is absconding and a dragnet has been spread to nab him.

Based on a tip off, the Forest Flying Squad intercepted a car in Kushalnagar and the occupants of the vehicle tried to flee the spot seeing the sleuths. The squad members, over 20 in number, managed to give chase and arrested the four accused while one managed to escape.  

A Wagon-R car (KA-04-MD-8462) that was used to transport the ambergris and three mobile phones have been seized. The operation was led by DCF Ramakrishnappa, ACF Manohar Suvarna, RFO Vivek,  DRFOs Lakshmisha, Sundar, Vinod Kumar, Pramod, Nagaraju, Sneha, Meghana and staff. 

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A special team has been formed to trace from where the accused got hold of the ambergris. The team will also probe the possible connection between the accused and a network of smugglers from Kerala and overseas.

What is ambergris? 

Ambergris is a waxy substance produced by sperm whales. It is a costly substance used in high-end perfumes and aphrodisiac products. Forest officials said whales come under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act and ambergris is considered as an “uncured trophy” of the largest mammal. It is illegal to possess or trade in any of its by-products in the country. Sperm whales are a protected species, hunting of the whale is not allowed. Ambergris is a brownish substance that forms in the abdomen of whales, and they vomit it. It is highly valued by perfume-makers as a fixative that allows the scent to endure much longer. In Japan and China, it is also used in some aphrodisiac products. Many countries prohibit the hunting of whales and the trade of their by-products.

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