In a sting operation, police seized 17 pounds of illegal sperm whale vomit.

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In a sting operation, police seized 17 pounds of illegal sperm whale vomit.

According to several sources, Indian officials recovered around 17 pounds of sperm whale vomit, often known as ambergris, in a sting operation on Saturday night.

Ambergris is a waxy material found in the intestines of sperm whales and is said to be utilized in the production of high-end perfumes. When sperm whales have a stomach or throat irritant, they “wrap it with a greasy substance [ambergris]and cast it out,” according to National Geographic. K. Arivozhi, a district forest officer in India, told The Hindu: “The mass floats a foot below the sea’s surface when the animal vomits it. It can only be collected by those who are aware of it.” Forest officials in Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, India, laid a trap on Saturday after getting information that a “gang” was attempting to sell the drug to global markets, according to the Times of India. Officials approached two guys suspected of having the ambergris and offered to buy it from them.

After offering to sell 17 pounds of ambergris to the undercover officers, the men fell for the trap and were both detained. The males, S. Nijamudeen, 53, and Zahir Hussain, 52, are currently being held in Nannilam prison, according to the Times of India.

The whale puke was estimated to be worth $1 million, according to Vice.

Because the sperm whale is endangered, it is unlawful to utilize ambergris in the United States; yet, it is widely used in other countries. In India, the drug is also illegal.

The Indian Express said that persons seeking to benefit from the material have been known to illegally target sperm whales “in order to acquire the lucrative Ambergris from its stomach.”

Sumanth Bindumadhav, senior manager of Humane Society International’s animal crisis response, told Vice that he and other conservationists are concerned that more individuals would start hunting sperm whales for the chemical rather than simply collecting it when it arises.

“While there was a period when people would find ambergris floating around in the ocean by chance,” he added, “it might lead to people murdering sperm whales in big numbers and seeking for [ambergris]simply because the chances of finding it otherwise are so remote.”

The men detained on Saturday weren’t the first to be apprehended. This is a condensed version of the information.

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