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On 26th NOVEMBER, the airport police caught a youth Sravan
kumar tried to smuggle 98 dried bear gall ladders out of the
country. They looked like shriveled black mangoes, and no
one but the expert could say that the weird looking things
came from an animal. Even experts faltered in identifying
the species of the animal the gall bladders came from. This
was precisely the question turned up during the
investigations. Under the Indian wild-life protection act
1972, the Himalayan brown bear figures among these schedules.
Thus if the gall bladders came from the Himalayan brown bear
as the airport police suspected, the Sravan kumar should
have been prosecuted under the law. Actually drugs made from
gall bladders are used in Tibetan medicine as cure for
various ailments which includes joint aches, rheumatism,
cataracts, gall stones, cancer and even as aphrodisiacs.
Since these drugs are highly reputed (despite their being
actually useless), the intact gall bladders of bears sell in
the international markets at phenomenal rates. This has
caused poaching of bears and consequent fall of bear population.

Sravan kumar understood that he had been caught red-handed.
The best way to circumvent the law was to deny that these
where bear gall bladders. Consequently he asserted that the
gall bladders where taken from pigs and not from bears.
Since pig not in protected act- Sravan could go scot free.
He banked upon the fact that the gall bladders of large
mammals look alike and is extremely difficult to distinguish
one from another. In effect question belonged to pigs or to
bears. It was at this stage that the airport police asked
for my help.

Despite common belief forensic science doesn’t cater only on
solving murders, killings or assassinations. Forensic
science is the application of scientific knowledge to solve
any legal dispute. Since here the police did face a legal
dilemma, forensic science could come to their rescue.

During recent years the law enforcement agencies involved in
protecting wildlife are increasingly turning to forensic
science to bring culprits to the book. Protected animals are
killed because of false beliefs in curative powers of
medicines made from their body parts, or because of their
valuable fur’s or hides or just because for plain fun.
Poaching of elephants for ivory is a common problem. But
ivory comes from a number of sources ( as many as fifteen )
and often even the criminals find it convenient to assert
that ivory came from valid source. In US for instance
trading in ivory is illegal, trading in ivory of now extinct
mammoths and mastodons. There is synthetic ivory too which
is plastic like material. Whenever smugglers are caught with
ivory their standard answer is that ivory is from a mammoth
which is completely legal.

Forensic science once again comes to the rescue of wildlife
officers. It helps in differentiating ivory coming from
various sources. Mammoth ivory is usually darker than
elephant ivory, since it contains traces of iron which has
oxidized over time, but is not always the case. The best
way ivory from various sources can be distinguished is by
observing what are known as Schreger lines. Ivory is criss
– crossed by dentinal tubules, which can be seen under a
scanning electron micro – scope (SEM) as straight lines.
These tubules where first described by a German research
Schreger, after whom these lines are named. Thses schreger
lines form a unique pattern in each species. For instance
while in elephants, these lines always meet an angle greater
than 110 degrees., in mammoths they form a very convenient
for differentiating between the ivories of mammoth and

Q1). What was the question that turned up during the
investigations that followed the confiscation of gall bladders?

a) Can experts easily distinguish between animal gall
bladders and shriveled mangoes.
b) Can experts easily distinguish between the gall bladders
of bear and that of pig’s
c) It is a matter of experience or of medical expertise that
enables doctors to identify the species of the animals to
whom the gall bladders belong.
d) Is the police force better than the doctors at
identifying the species of the animals to whom the gall
bladders belong to.
e) Is forensic science of any help in identifying the
species of the animals from whom the gall bladders have come

Q2). Why did Sravan kumar say that gall bladders have been
taken out of pigs?

i) Because pigs do not figure among the five schedules in
the Indian wild-life protection act of 1973.
ii) Because he wanted to avoid prosecution
iii) Because he did not consider it morally wrong to say so
iv) Because he had bribed an forensic scientist to support
his statements

a) I only
b) I & ii only
c) I, ii & iii only
d) I, ii, iii & iv only

Q3). Why are the gall bladders of bears smuggled?

i) Because they fetch lot of money
ii) Because they are apparently useless
iii) Because they are used for making drugs

a) I only
b) Ii only
c) I & ii only
d) I & iii only
e) Iii only

Q4). Which of the following statements is correct ?

a) The weired looking things are shriveled black mangoes
b) The ‘ursus arctos is abellinus’ is a protected species
c) The gall bladders of bears do not sell in the
international market
d) Sravan kumar was not a smuggler
e) Sravan kumar was able to go scot-free by convincing the
authorities that the gall bladders came from pigs

Q5). What did Sravan kumar base his hopes on?

a) The lack of expertise in the field of forensic science
b) The fact that the gall bladders had been taken from bears
and from pigs
c) The fact that the gall bladders of large mammals look alike
d) The fact that the intact gall bladders sell in the
international market
e) The fact that the forensic science is known to cater to
solving murders, killings or assasinations

Q6). Why did the airport police seek the author’s help?
a) Because he is a detcetive
b) Because he is a lawyer with extensive knowledge in the
field of wildlife protection
c) Bnecause he is an expert in the field of forensic science
d) Because he is a foreigner setlled in India
e) Because he is a great champion of wildlife protection in

Q7). What was the legal dilemna?

a) Whether ro prosecute Sravan kumar or to let him go scot-free
b) To detremine whther the gall bladders belonged to bears
or pigs
c) To decide whether bear is an endagered species
d) To decide whether pig is an endangered species
e) To determine whether forensic science aid should be
sought only to solve murders ot to solve any legal disputes

Q8). Who are the culprits who need to be punished ?
i) Poachers
ii) Those who kill animals for their organs
iii) Those who hunt protected animals for fun

a) I & II only
b) I only
c) I & III only
d) II only
e) I, II & III only

Q9). Why is it convenient for criminals to claim that ivory
has come from valid source?

a) Because mammoths and mastodons have become exticnt
b) Because ivory comes from as many as fifteen sources
c) Because it is possible for one to distinguish between one
kind of ivory to another
d) Because of elephants is prohibited in many countries
e) Because mammoths have tasks which are very similar to
synthetic ivory

Q10). What is the best way of distinguishing ivory coming
from various sources?

a) By testing whether the ivory contains traces of iron
b) Bvy scrutinizing it closely to see that it is darker than
elephant ivory
c) By over serving the pattern of tubules on the ivory
d) By feeling the texture to note the difference
e) By extracting the tissue and getting it examined by a
forensic sciebtist


Answer / rose


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