Bengaluru Revenue Intelligence busts international racket in wildlife smuggling

The animals attempted to be smuggled by the said passengers were seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962

Published: 28th January 2023 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2023 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

​ The animals recovered from the passengers | Express ​

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Bengaluru, has busted an international wildlife syndicate which trafficked endangered wildlife species though mobile apps,in a massive operation codenamed ‘Kalki’.

The recovered animals, including extremely rare and threatened species like the yellow and green anaconda, yellow-headed Amazon parrot, Nile monitor, red foot tortoise, iguanas, ball pythons, alligator gar (ancient fish from North America), Yaki monkey, veiled chameleon, racoon dog, white-headed pionus (rare parrots) etc were handed over to Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bengaluru.

“Acting on specific intelligence, DRI officers on January 22 intercepted three passengers, including a lady passenger, who had arrived from Bangkok at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru. Examination of their checked-in baggage resulted in the recovery of non-indigenous 18 animals (four primates and 14 reptiles) with the assistance of Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) officials,” stated the DRI in an official release on Friday.

“Ten of these were included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which is a global agreement among governments to regulate or ban international trade in species under threat. The import of wild animals (including their parts and products) as defined in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, is prohibited and those species which are listed in CITES are subject to the provisions of CITES.

The animals attempted to be smuggled by the said passengers were seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962,” the Central agency added. According to the DRI, a “quick follow-up action with the assistance of KFD officials and an officer deputed from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) Chennai, resulted in the recovery of another 139 animals belonging to 48 species, including 34 CITES listed species from a farmhouse in Bengaluru used as a place of storage of similarly smuggled wildlife.”

“The accused neither had any documents evidencing the licit import of the wildlife items nor were there any filings under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (Wildlife Division), Voluntary Disclosure Scheme available with them,” said the DRI.

The agency however, unearthed “evidence of financial transactions to source non indigenous wildlife through the route of smuggling, buy - sell transactions on WhatsApp and other social media platforms. The same was also established with respect to the wildlife found and seized at the said locations.” The DRI has arrested four persons involved in smuggling it into India.

India Matters


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