Chennai, Feb 13 (BPNS)
The sale of exotic pets continues unabated in Chennai and other cities like Tiruchi, Madurai, and Coimbatore and its outskirts even after the imported pets are intercepted at international airports in Tamil Nadu.
In the past fifty days, two consignments of exotic pets were seized at Chennai international airport. The consignment includes mangabeys, pythons, and marmosets.
Interestingly 171-star tortoises meant for export to far eastern countries were also intercepted from the Chennai airport within the last fifty days.
It may be recalled that in the first seizure of 2023, 45 varieties of ball pythons, three marmosets, and eight corn snakes were caught by customs in Chennai airport.
P.R. Saravanan, an animal rights activist based out of Chennai told BPNS, “The animals which are classified as exotic species are being smuggled in tight containers and the animals are stressed during the travel. The sale of these exotic pets is touching lakhs and crores in Tamil Nadu and the illegal trade has to be curbed by the authorities.”
However, sources in the Chennai City police told BPNS that there is a lack of coordination between the Customs department and the police and this has helped several smugglers go scot-free.
Another issue that is plaguing the law enforcers is the failure to ascertain the exact value of the exotic species seized.
In Tiruchi, Madurai, and Coimbatore, the cities where international flights land, are also thriving hot spots for the sale of exotic species.
According to animal rights activists, the smuggled exotic species of animals are taken to other states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala from these airports.
Customs officials however told BPNS that the seized smuggled species are sent back to their country of origin. The customs officials were tight-lipped when asked about handing over these cases to the Tamil Nadu police.