Forest officials in southern Assams Cachar district have rescued a kangaroo and blue macaws among exotic wildlife species being smuggled out of Mizoram. They were packed among crates of fruits in a truck.
The seizure of these animals came less than two years after sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted an international syndicate of exotic wildlife smugglers whose kingpin was based in Mizoram. That operation in October 2018 was carried out simultaneously in Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati and Mizorams capital Aizawl.
The forest personnel were on a routine check of trucks around 11.30 p.m. on Tuesday for detecting illegal timber being carried. Foul smell emanating from one of the trucks made them suspicious, said Sunnydeo Chaudhary, Cachars Divisional Forest Officer.
A closer inspection revealed a kangaroo from Australia, six hyacinth or blue macaws and two capuchin monkeys from South America and three Aldabra tortoises, one of the largest species from the Seychelles group of islands.
Two persons identified as Narsimha Reddy and Navnath Tukaram Daigude have been detained and were being interrogated to find their forward and backward linkages, officials said.
They said they picked up the consignment from Mizoram for delivery in Guwahati. But we know from past records that exotic animals are smuggled in from Myanmar and are destined to Kolkata and other major cities across the country, Mr. Chaudhary told The Hindu.
In March 2018, a large consignment of exotic animals, including venomous snakes and giant scorpions, was seized from a vehicle at Jorabat, about 19 km from Guwahati and on the Assam-Meghalaya border. The consignment had come from Aizawl and was to be sold to a pet trader in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the breeding of tigers caught on camera at Laokhowa-Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary ahead of International Tiger Day (July 29) has brought cheer to conservationists in Assam. Encroachment of this sanctuary, a buffer of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), had wiped out animals two decades ago.
The area was brought under KNPTR in 2007 and conservation efforts renewed. This was possible after we removed the encroachments, including 240 cattle sheds inside the sanctuary, said P. Sivakumar, KNPTRs director.
Wildlife officials said this pointed to better connectivity among the fragmented populations of tigers that could help check inbreeding and genetic mutations.
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