Illegal Pet Trade Discovery at Chennai Airport: Endangered Blue Iguanas Among Seized Exotics!

August 21, 2023
1 min read
Chennai Airport
Aravind Kumar Chaurasia

In a significant operation, Indian Customs officials at Chennai Airport intercepted a passenger arriving from Bangkok, uncovering a trove of rare and exotic wildlife. The seizure included:

  • 30 Blue Iguanas: Native to the Grand Cayman Island, these lizards are a critically endangered species. Their striking blue color makes them a target for the illegal pet trade.
  • 19 Ball Pythons: Originating from West and Central Africa, these non-venomous snakes are popular in the pet trade due to their docile nature and unique patterns. However, their capture and transport can be detrimental to their health and the ecosystem they are taken from.
  • 4 Fiery Squirrels: Little is known about these particular squirrels, but the name suggests they might have a distinctive appearance or behavior. The illegal trade of such mammals can often lead to the spread of diseases.

The discovery of these animals in the possession of a single passenger raises alarming concerns about the scale and audacity of the illegal wildlife trade between Thailand and India. The fate of these animals remains uncertain, with questions arising about their rehabilitation and care. The evident trauma, especially observed in the squirrels, underscores the cruelty of such illicit activities.

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Authorities are yet to release further details about the passenger’s intent or the final destination of these animals. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for stricter regulations, international cooperation, and vigilance at transit points to combat the global menace of wildlife trafficking.

Source: LinkedIn post by Arvind Kumar Chaurasia, Additional Commissioner, Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes).

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