Dozens of Kerala elephant smugglers are lurking in Assam trying to clandestinely buy elephants from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh at a peanut price and selling them in an exorbitant price at Kerala.
The lid of this new illegal trade was opened by Congress MP Sashi Tharoor at Lok Sabha yesterday saying that no less than 518 elephants have been smuggled out of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in recent years.
Although change of ownership of elephant is banned but using loopholes of the law, the racket has been operating. This morning report from Biswanath Chariali suggested that three such agents have been working in Biswanath Chariali district trying to get four elephants out of Assam.
In papers the smugglers use change of residence clause to transfer the elephants. Most of the elephants are bought at Rs 5-10 lakh and at Kerala it is sold around Rs 80 Lakh to Rs 1 crore.
Project Elephant member Dr. Kushal Sharma informed that he himself saw Assam elephant being sold at Rs 1.5 crores. In Kerala elephants are much sought after for Temple and Tourism and an average Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 are collected from one elephant every day in the high season.