GUNTUR: Officials of the forest department have arrested a gang illegally selling ambergris also known as ambergrease or grey amber. The officials recovered 8 kg of ambergris worth Rs 12 crore from their possession. Ambergris, generally referred to as whale vomit, is a solid waxy substance originating in the intestine of the sperm whale. It is produced only by an estimated one per cent of sperm whales. As it is a rare substance and is utilised in the manufacture of costly medicines and perfumes, the ambergris is very expensive in the market.
A few days ago the officials of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Chennai came across a transaction on a Facebook account of one person. The transaction was about ambergris, which was being sold online at a cost of Rs 35 lakh per kg. Later, the officials posing as buyers placed an order online for the ambergris. The seller asked them to come to Narasaraopet to collect the order. The officials immediately informed the local police and forest department officials.
On Saturday, the police took eight persons into custody, while trying to sell the ambergris to the forest department officials on Palnadu Road in the town. The accused are natives of Narasaraopet, Sattenapalli, Vijayawada, and Telangana. The police produced the accused in the local court on Sunday and they were sent into judicial remand. According to the primary investigation, the police said, “We have learnt that two more persons are involved in this illegal business. We will arrest the other two after a thorough investigation.”