Bengaluru sleuths seize Ambergris worth Rs 80 crore

Sperm Whale
Endangered sperm whales mostly eat fish like cuttle and squid. Image courtesy:Shane Gross/Shutterstock

Bengaluru: Bengaluru's Central Crime Branch (CCB) police seized a whopping 80 kg banned marine substance Ambergris worth about Rs 80 crore from five persons on Tuesday, said the police here.

This is perhaps the biggest ever seizures of banned Ambergris (endangered Sperm whale's vomit/faecal matter), the police added.

According to the police, the arrested are identified as Mujeeb Pasha (48), Mohammed alias Munna (45), Gulabchand alias Guddu (40) and Santhosh (31) are residents of Bengaluru while another accused Jagannathachar (52), resident of Raichur district in Karnataka.

The police added that based on a tip off the CCB team raided a godown where rare artefacts and this ambergris was stored illegally.

"India has banned sale or possession of this material under provisions of forest and environmental acts. In India, under the Wildlife Protection Act, it is a punishable crime to hunt sperm whales which produce ambergris," the police explained.

The police added that the endangered sperm whales mostly eat fish like cuttle and squid. "The hard spikes of these fish would not get digested easily. When it comes in contact with the soft surface of the intestine, a fat-like liquid is released. This liquid sticks all these substances together and the intestine absorbs water from it. This process makes it much harder," the police said.

The police added that there are instances where the ambergris covers the intestine of sperm whales and it leads to the rupturing of intestine. Besides, it (Ambergris) is produced by only one per cent of the sperm whales as a result of this, Ambergris is so precious and valuable and considered as floating gold," the police explained.

The police further said that Ambergris has been mostly known for its use in creating perfume and fragrance much like musk. "Ambergris has historically been used in food and drink. In India, it costs around Rs 1 crore and trading and handling it is illegal," the police said.

The police has registered a case and is investigating.

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