Following demonetisation, the resulting cash crunch has given some relief to wildlife activists, who believe that removing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has led to a decrease in illegal wildlife trade across the country.
Artefacts made of ivory and rhino horns, body parts of tigers and leopards and their skins, sand boas and pangolin scales are the major items sold through wildlife trade, reported The Times of India.
Wildlife crime prevention organization TRAFFIC India’s head Shekhar Kumar Niraj told TOI that after the announcement of demonetisation, the wildlife trade has been affected in the country as most of these transactions are carried out in higher denomination notes.
He said that a rhino horn can sell for upto Rs 20 lakh in the international market. Nails, teeth, skin of a tiger will cost upto Rs 10 lakh and one kilogram of ivory can cost upto Rs 40,000.
A field operative in TRAFFIC said that the illegal wildlife traders usually prefer to finish off the illegal trade in a short span of time so they prefer high denomination value notes like Rs 500 and Rs 1000.
The operative added that if it is Rs 100 note, it will take more time for the illegal traders to carry out the transactions and hence they don’t prefer it.
However, Niraj said that the poaching of small mammals like blacknaped hare, spotted deer and Indian jackal, and reptiles like monitor lizard and snakes still goes on unaffected, reported by TOI.
He added that the illegal trade will start again once the cash flow resumes but he feels it is the right time for intelligence agencies in each state to crack down on poaching networks.