The state forest officials on Sunday arrested a 45-year-old man for allegedly possessing swamp deer's (barasingha) antler. The accused Mohammad Siraj Shaikh was arrested red handed with the antlers when he came to sell it near Kurla railway station on Sunday morning. Shaikh has put up the antler for sale at a popular trading platform, said officials.
According to the officials, Spreading Awareness on Reptiles and Rehabilitation Programs (SARRP) an NGO working for animals received information about the sale of antlers offered online at a trading platform. After checking it was revealed that a person named Shaikh was offering swamp deer's antlers for sale and claimed that it was 45 years old. He was demanding Rs 3 lakh for them. The SARRP members then alerted Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).
After verifying the antler to be original, members of SARRP along with the officials of WCCB approached Shaikh in the guise of customers and struck a deal with him. On Sunday they called him near Kurla railway station where WCCB officials along with officials of poaching cell of the state forest department laid a trap. As soon as Shaikh arrived he was nabbed.
During his search, antler of a swamp deer was recovered, following which he was arrested under the Wild Life Protection act 1972 as the possession and sale is illegal. Shaikh will be produced before the court on Monday.
Now we are investigating from where the antler was procured by the accused, said the official.