The forest department and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) in Coimbatore seized around 25,000 painting brushes, allegedly made using mongoose hair, from six stationery shops in the city on Wednesday.
The street value of the illegal products is estimated to be around Rs 15 lakhs.
Chandrasekhar, a volunteer with WCCB, told The News Minute that they had been conducting searches in various stationery shops in the city after receiving information about the sale of these brushes.
â€śOn Wednesday, we raided one wholesale shop and five retail shops that were selling painting brushes made using mongoose hair. We have handed over the material to the forest departmentâ€ť he said.
It is illegal to use mongoose hair, said the volunteer. â€śMongoose comes under Schedule II, Part II of the Wildlife Protection Act. The culprits must be arrested and punished by the forest department.â€ť
â€śMany unaware customers often end up buying these brushes,â€ť he added.
The investigation team consisted of 11 members, including WCCB officials, volunteers and personnel from the forest department. The team has been looking into such cases in other states as well, such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
â€śWe had seized nearly 14,000 such brushes from Kerala two years ago,â€ť Chandrasekhar said, adding that the government should create awareness around the issue.
There have not been any arrests in the case so far. â€śThe forest department is still investigating the case and running tests to confirm that the brushes have mongoose hair. We have submitted all the evidence to the department,â€ť he stated.