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Six Men Held For Smuggling Whale Vomit in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi

Image: News18 Tamil Nadu

Image: News18 Tamil Nadu

The costly rare waxy substance known as floating gold, which is produced in a sperm whale's digestive system, is used in medicinal products and the manufacture of expensive perfumes.

A gang of six were caught when trying to sell ambergris, commonly known as whale vomit, a wax-like blackish substance, in the black market. Ambergris is also known as floating gold which is produced in a sperm whale’s digestive system. Generally, whales rarely excrete certain fluids from their digestive tract. Those rare solid-like substances are found as wax on the surface of the ocean.

The rare waxy substance is used in medicinal products and the manufacture of expensive perfumes. A gang was caught in a car when smuggling a two-kilogram parcel of ambergris near Thiruchendur town in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district. Thiruchendur police have received a tip-off that a valuable item was being smuggled from Tanjore district via Thiruchendur town. Following this, the police were engaged in a vehicle search near the Thiruchendur taluka office and stopped a suspicious vehicle.

After the search, it was revealed that they had secretly smuggled a wax-like substance in the car and experts identified it as ambergris, which is formed inside the stomach of sperm whales, which hunt and eat giant and colossal squids. The investigation resulted in many startling pieces of information. The accused were identified as Ilangovan, Venkatesh, Ramkumar, Raja Mohammad, Mohammad Aslam and John Britto. Moreover, the investigations revealed that the waxy substance was being smuggled in crores in foreign countries such as Indonesia, UK and that they were trying to sell it to Sri Lanka and other foreign countries via Thoothukudi harbour.

However, the preliminary investigation has revealed that the international value of the abducted ambergris is Rs 2 crore. Later, Thiruchendur police handed over the seized 2 kg of ambergris, six accused and their car to the Thiruchendur Forest Department and the gang of six accused have been booked under the Wildlife Protection Act. A similar incident happened in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat where 5.3 kg of ambergris worth Rs 7 crore in the international market has been seized by Anandnagar police in Ahmedabad last month and three were detained. Earlier, in Tamil Nadu, officials of the Forest Department and Cuddalore Marine Police retrieved 5.88 kg of ambergris that washed ashore on Devanampattinam beach.

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first published:June 24, 2021, 17:05 IST