Origin of ‘kangaroos’ being smuggled through north Bengal not clear

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At least five kangaroos, being smuggled through different pockets of north West Bengal, have been recovered in the last 30 days. However, since the mammal is not found in India, the origin of these recovered animals is not clear yet.

Talking to IANS, wildlife experts in the state expressed doubts over the place of origin of these kangaroos that were recovered from Siliguri in Darjeeling district and Jalpaiguri.

Raja Raut, the Secretary of Jalpaiguri Science and Nature Club (JSNC), a reputed NGO working in the field of research and protection of flora and fauna in north Bengal for a long time, said it was not even clear if these were kangaroos at all.

“The first doubt is whether the animals recovered are kangaroos or wallabies. From the size of the animals recovered, it is more likely that they are wallabies,” Raut told IANS.

He said that kangaroos are generally much larger in size and heavier than wallabies. The height of the kangaroos can be as high as two metres and their weight can be up to around 90 kgs. However, the height of the wallabies can go up to a maximum of one metre and their weight can be maximum up to 20 kgs, he said.

The second doubt, according to him, is regarding the source of these animals recovered. “We doubt that the origin of these recovered animals is any foreign country like Australia. Rather, we doubt that these animals are some certain illegal breeding farms for artificial insemination that are operating in some remote pockets of northeastern India, especially in Mizoram.

“Of late we have received information from fellow NGOs operating in the same field in the northeast that few such illegal breeding farms have started reproducing kangaroos or wallabies through artificial insemination.”

The third doubt, according to him, was the motive behind smuggling these animals. “One motive can be for delivery to any individual who wants to get a kangaroo or wallaby as a pet. The second reason could be delivery of these animals to countries like China or Thailand, where there is high demand for these animals as their body parts are used for manufacturing of aphrodisiacs. Now keeping a kangaroo as a pet is quite hazardous against the backdrop of the weather conditions and space required at residence to house them. So, in probability, these recovered animals were destined for aphrodisiac producing countries,” he said.

IANS also contacted the former Chief Conservator of Forests, West Bengal and Head of Forest Force, Atanu Kumar Raha. Although, he did not comment on the origin of these animals or the motive behind smuggling the, he said: “The trend of kangaroo smuggling is something new. So, I am unable to comment on their source or origin.”

Reporter S Pandey said that although the news about mushrooming artificial insemination is circulating during the recent period, no agency has got any concrete proof on this matter. “I suggest a joint enquiry by all agencies concerned be started to crush this racket of wildlife smuggling,” he said.

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