Chennai, Mar 30 (BPNS)
With Chennai turning into a hub of exotic species smuggling and many people buying these exotic species smuggled into the country from far eastern countries, the state forest department has increased vigil on this.
The amended Wild Life (Protection) Act will come into effect from April 1, 2023, and once it comes into being, owning exotic species including birds, animals, and rodents will be a punishable offense. The forest department of Tamil Nadu has stepped up vigil on exotic species being smuggled into the state and then transported to other states and destinations.
It may be noted that there have been several cases of Chennai international airport reporting on smuggled exotic species being caught. However, sources in Chennai airport told BPNS that the volume of smuggled exotic species being caught at Chennai and other airports in Tamil Nadu is only meager when compared to the huge numbers clearing the gates of these airports and reaching mainstream markets.
Sources in Tamil Nadu forest department told BPNS that once these exotic species are smuggled into the country, then these species which are priced much higher in grey market is smuggled into other destinations of South India. In some cases, the species are transported to Northern Indian states like Delhi, Jaipur, and Lucknow.
The existing Wild Life (Protection) Act does not have provisions to punish those who illegally import and own exotic species. Those who smuggle the exotic species into India go scot-free and the consignment is repatriated back to the country of origin on the same flight.
Forest department sources told BPNS that those who trade in exotic pets are now using their farmlands to rear these animals instead of smuggling them into the country. This helps them to reduce the cost and risk and the business is flourishing in all South Indian states and some cities like Jaipur, Lucknow, and New Delhi.