Whale’s vomit worth crores of rupees. Yes! A whale’s vomit is worth crores of rupees and is being smuggled too.
In a one of its type of cases Mumbai police acting on a tip-off, a joint team of police and forest department officials laid a trap on Saturday in the Cama Lane of suburban Vidyavihar area, and nabbed Nagpur resident Rahul Dupare who was in possession of the whale’s vomit.
Ambergris is a waxy substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume manufacture. Ambergris is soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ether and certain volatile and fixed oils.
The sperm whale is an endangered species protected under the Wildlife Act. The Wildlife Protection Act (1972) states that any part of an endangered animal is illegal for sale.
“We seized 1.3 kg of ambergris, worth Rs. 1.7 crore, from a 53-year-old man who had come to sell the same. It is a prohibited item. We have registered a case under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and have arrested Dupare,” a police official said.
Ambergris or ‘whale vomit’ is a rare and expensive wax that is produced as a secretion in the intestines of sperm whales to protect them from the sharp beaks of squid, which they eat, and is passed as vomit. Also called ‘floating gold’, it can be found floating in tropical seas and is used as a fixative in the process of manufacturing perfumes, since it is slowest in evaporating.
A team has been dispatched to Gujarat for further investigation since the possibility of Tupare being involved in an illegal racket cannot be ruled out, the Mumbai police added.