Crime: Following a tip-off, forest officers in Wangdue caught two men from Byelangdra, Kazhi gewog for smuggling musk-pods on December 16.

The men were trying to sell the musk pods in Bajo town, forest officers said.

Foresters said they were informed on December 15 and were tracking them as they travelled from Byelangdra to Bajo. They were nabbed the following day in Bajo town after the offenders’ vehicle was spotted.

“We have seized the musk-pods and fined them as per the rules and regulations,” a forester said.  The men were fined Nu 50,000 and their vehicle seized.

Director general for department of forest and park services, Chencho Norbu said as per the wildlife products and red-sandar wood report 2013-2014, the department has caught 28 musk deer cases.

He said the foresters seized around 20 musk pods in the last two years, and dismantled more than 1,477 traps set by the offenders. They have collected a fine of Nu 5.2M for musk deer related cases, according to the report.

“The maximum seizure cases, 10, was reported from Jigme Dorji National Park that covers Gasa and Wangdue regions followed by seven cases in Wangchuck Centenary Park,” he said.

Musk pod is one of the most expensive wildlife products, according to local elderlies. It is mostly used for medicinal purposes and sold illegally.

To help reduce smuggling and hunting of wild animals, especially musk deer, gewog officers conduct awareness program to explain the forestry rules and regulations and importance of wildlife conservation, Kazhi gup Sigyel Dorji said.

However, they point out that after cordycep collection was legalized, hunting and smuggling of musk deer products has decreased drastically.

Dawa Gyelmo