Mumbai Police arrested Nagpur based 53-year-old Rahul Dupare in Ghatkopar area for attempting to sell 1.3 kg of ‘Ambergris’ (whale vomit) worth Rs 1.70 crore in the illicit market.
The whale vomit, which is considered to be ‘extremely rare,’ is a waxy substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale. The produced wax protects the whales from the sharp beaks of squid, which they eat, and is hence passed as vomit.
Also know as ‘floating gold,’ the vomit is found floating in tropical seas and is used in perfume manufacture.
Mumbai Police on Tuesday, along with a joint team of police and forest department officials, acting on a tip-off, arrested Dupare.
As per a report in NDTV, an official from Mumbai Police said, “We seized 1.3 kg of ambergris, worth Rs 1.7 crore, from him. It is a prohibited item. We have registered a case under the relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and have arrested Dupare.”
“Finding Ambergris is extremely difficult and is usually exported to gulf where it fetches very high prices. Fishermen, who believe it as a fortune, may have killed the whale. We’re probing further into this. There is also a superstition attached to it that burning it for good scent will make one rich,” said police.
The Wildlife Protection Act (1972) states that any part of an endangered animal is illegal for sale. The sperm whale, protected under this Act, was declared an endangered species in 1970.