Chennai, Jan 23 (BPNS)
The security at the four international airports in Tamil Nadu has been alerted over the possibility of smuggling exotic species of wild animals into the country through these airports.
It may be noted that a few weeks ago the security officials of the Chennai and Tiruchi airports seized exotic species of coir snakes, ball pythons, pygmy marmosets, and start tortoises that were imported into the country from Bangkok and Cambodia.
The exotic species were found to be in possession of a passenger who reached Chennai but in Tiruchi it was found abandoned in the airport. Sources in the air intelligence told BPNS that the officials have received a tip-off that more such species are being imported into the country through Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai airport and these are used by people as domestic animals. In rare cases, some of these exotic species are smuggled into China where they are used as medicines.
It may be noted that the customs had made 11 seizures of exotic species from the Tamil Nadu airports in 2022. The seized species include albino porcupines, de brazza’s monkeys, ball pythons, king snakes, and star tortoises. The customs had arrested five people who on questioning admitted to a major racket behind the smuggling of exotic species into Tamil Nadu.
Police sources told BPNS that there is a thriving illegal pet trade in many parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh and these exotic species are being brought in for such markets.
A senior officer with the Greater Chennai Police told BPNS, “The exotic species is a new trade which is slowly catching up in several South Indian states. The airports of Tamil Nadu are becoming the hot spots for smuggling in of exotic species. Central agencies have also provided inputs regarding the smuggling of exotic species into Tamil Nadu airports.”