Mizoram Northeast

Mizoram: Huge haul of smuggled exotic animals seized

Mizoram police on Wednesday recovered around 468 smuggled wildlife species and arrested five people in connection with the case.

A team of the Champhai Police, while acting on specific input, nabbed Gospel Chanchintha (28), a resident of Lawngtlai district in Mizoram, and his four accomplices from Zokhawthar, an Indo-Myanmar border town.

The five were trying to cross the river Tiau with cages containing the animals.

Among the rescued animals were, four tortoises, 11 snakes, 442 lizards, four-toed sloths, two beavers, one wild cat, and four patos.

“The illegal traffickers tried to cross over and evade the police check-gate by walking on foot and carrying the smuggled exotic species by head-load,” a police communique informed.

All the seized animals along with the five traffickers were promptly handed over to the Customs Preventive Force in Champhai through the District Wildlife Crime Control Sub-Unit, Champhai.

Earlier on May 8, a particular consignment was seized from Khankawn near the Mizoram-Myanmar border. Inside were kangaroo rats, meerkats, white cockatoos, and Burmese pythons, exotic animals not indigenous to India.

A police official, who did not want to be named, said Mizoram, as well as other Northeastern states that border Myanmar, has become an active route for smuggling exotic animals from South East Asian countries to mainland India. These animals are smuggled into India from countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar where there are exotic animal breeding farms.

There were instances where investigations into the seizure of exotic animals in West Bengal and as far as Andhra Pradesh were traced to Mizoram.

The police official said most of the persons arrested with the smuggled animals were only transporters who were doing the job for money.

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