Demonetization effect has its own set of pros and cons, a step that was taken in spirit of helping the government to suck out all the hidden black money from the economy, however wildlife activists claims to have found a better way to deal with illegal wildlife trading post the scrapping of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes bringing it to a grinding halt.
Artefacts made of ivory and rhino horns, body parts and derivatives of tigers and leopards and their skins, sand boas and pangolin scales are the major items in the illegal market fetching several lakhs of rupees.
“With the announcement of demonetisation, the trade has slowed down throughout the country,” Shekhar Kumar Niraj, the head of wildlife crime prevention organisation TRAFFIC – India, told TOI. His assessment is based on inputs provided by the organisation’s operatives across the country. Niraj said a rhino horn can fetch up to `20 lakh when it is bound for the international market. Nails, teeth and skin of a tiger cost Rs 10 lakh or more and one kilogram of ivory is priced at Rs 40,000. If the ivory is crafted, the price shoots up, he said. And since all the transactions are made in cash, the denominations preferred are high.
“All these materials change hands within a very short time and so does the cash,” Niraj said.
A field operative in TRAFFIC said illegal wildlife traders prefer to wind up their transactions within a short period of time for which they prefer `1,000 and `500 notes.