A 53 year old man from Mumbai was arrested by the police after he had come to sell 1.3 kilograms of “ambergris” or whale vomit which was worth INR₹ 1.7 crore (US$ 250,000).
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 manufacturing industry.
Acting on a tip off, a joint team of the Mumbai police and forest department officials laid a trap on Saturday in the Cama Lane of suburban Vidyavihar area and arrested Rahul Dupare.
“We seized 1.3 kg of ambergris, worth Rs. 1.7 crore, from him. It is a prohibited item. We have registered a case under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and have arrested Dupare,” police officials said.
The sperm whale is an endangered species protected under the Wildlife Act.
Ambergris is soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ether and certain volatile and fixed oils.