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Smuggled exotic animals seized at Mumbai airport shifted to care facility in Gujarat

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Mumbai, Oct 10 (PTI) More than 600 exotic species rescued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs department at the Mumbai airport have been shifted to a care facility in Gujarat, a forest official said on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, the Mumbai Zonal Unit of the DRI intercepted the consignment last week after it arrived at the Air Cargo Complex. At least 665 animals smuggled into the country concealed in an imported consignment of live fish, included rare lizards, pythons and iguanas.

After checking the consignment with the help of the forest department, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), it was found that hundreds of reptile species were being trafficked in the guise of aquarium fishes, RAWW president Pawan Sharma said.

Reptiles such as komodo dragon, tegu, Burmese python, ball python, green grass lizard, leopard geckos, pancake tortoise, leopard tortoise, iguanas, albino red eared slider turtles, alligator among other animals, none of them native to India, were seized, he said.

More than 100 animals were found dead and several were in a critical condition at the time of rescue, as they were being kept in containers used for importing and transporting fish, Sharma said.

The RAWW was given temporary custody of the seized animals on recommendation of the WCCB and forest department, as there were no other facilities or infrastructure available in the city to cater to them immediately, he said.

The seized animals were shifted to Greens Zoological Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre in Gujarat on Sunday night. Most of the animals in the consignment were CITES-listed (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), Sharma added. PTI ZA ARU ARU

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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