TN airports on high alert over smuggling of exotic species into country

Security at the four international airports in Tamil Nadu has been heightened to curb the possibility of smuggling exotic species of wild animals into the country through them, officials said on Monday.

A few weeks ago, security officials at the the Chennai and Tiruchi airports seized exotic species of coir snakes, ball pythons, pygmy marmosets, and star tortoises that were brought into the country from Thailand and Cambodia.

In Chennai, the exotic species were found to be in possession of a passenger, but in Tiruchi, the animals were found abandoned in the airport.

Sources in the air intelligence unit told IANS that they have received a tip-off that more such species are being sought to brought into the country through Chennai, Coimbatore, and Madurai airports and these are used by people as domestic animals. In rare cases, some of these exotic species are smuggled to China where they are used as medicines.

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. Five people were arrested and on questioning, admitted to a major racket behind the smuggling of exotic species into Tamil Nadu.

Police sources told IANS 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 Greater Chennai Police official told IANS: “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.”




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