Chennai Customs officials foil bid to smuggle in juvenile pythons, lizards  

The reptiles native of countried like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are now being sent back to the respective countries.

Published: 11th October 2019 06:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2019 06:31 AM   |  A+A-

Juvenile pythons and lizards tried to be smuggled into Chennai airport

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Two persons were detained as Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) sleuths of Customs department foiled an attempt to smuggle in juvenile pythons and lizards kept hidden in a plastic toy at Chennai Airport on Thursday morning.

Rajan Chaudhary, Commisioner of Customs, said that based on information that wild animals are likely to be smuggled from Kuala Lumpur, officers of Customs Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) noticed the two passengers who were suspicious. The individuals, after collecting their checked-in luggage, one stroller bag each, were walking in a rather hurried manner when they were intercepted at the exit. As they were evasive in their replies, the stroller bags was opened and on examination officials found a large yellow plastic toy concealed in choclates, gift items and personal clothing, the officer stated.

On opening the toys, some cloth bags tied with rope were found inside in which some reptiles were concealed. On questioning, they informed that these bags were given to them by someone outside Kuala Lumpur airport with instructions to handover the same to someone outside Chennai airport.

They were taken outside the airport but no one turned up to receive the bags even after waiting for a considerable time. Forest officers of Wild Life division identified the seven reptile species seized from the duo. They were Green Tree python (Morelia viridis), Scrub Python (Morelia amethistina) both native of Australia and not covered under CITES; two Black Tree Monitor lizard (Varanusbeccarii); five Emerald Tree Monitor Lizard (Varanusprasimus); Two Blue spotted tree monitor lizard (Varanusmacraei); one Reisinger tree Monitor (Varanusreisingeri) and four Sailfin Lizard (Hydrosaurusspecie). The lizards are native of Indonesia , Papua New Guinea and Phillipinesand fall under CITES Appendix II.

A team of Veterinary doctors were called from Arignar Anna Zoological Park who inspected and found the animals to be in healthy condition. The Animal Quarantine Officials recommended to deport the wild life species back to country of origin as the passenger did not have any NOC/ DGFT license for import into India. Further investigations are under progress.

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