"Wildlife trade a routine affair in NE"


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AIZAWL, Feb 18
Earlier this week, Assam Rifles arrested four persons for smuggling exotic animals and rescued six endangered Burmese pythons from their possession in Mizoram's Champhai district bordering Myanmar. The Burmese python, mostly found in southeast Asia, is listed as vulnerable on the Interna-tional Union for Conser- vation of Nature (IUCN) red list.
The development highlights the growing trend of smuggling exotic and endangered animals from Myan- mar to India through the porous borders of Champhai district in Mizoram and Manipur's Moreh town. Despite best efforts by law enforcement agencies, such smuggling rackets are active.
According to wildlife experts, these animals are first brought from around the globe to Myanmar, and then smuggled to India, through these two northeastern States.
Speaking exclusively to ABP Live, Bibhab Talukdar, renowned wildlife biologist working in northeast India for over three decades said, "Wildlife trade has become a routine affair now. These poor exotic animals are often smuggled to Western and Southern India through Mizoram, Manipur and Assam. These animals finally find their place in private zoos owned by some business magnates."    
Talukdar said the recent seizure of exotic wildlife, especially in Mizoram, Manipur and Assam, was of concern as these exotic animals are imported illegally without any health screening which has the potential to spread zoonotic diseases in the country.
"The border agencies and all law enforcement agencies need to check this illegal trafficking of wild animals seriously and bring the smugglers involved into book," Talukdar said.
On October 15, 2022, Government agencies rescued as many as 138 exotic and endangered animals, including wild mammals, birds and reptiles, from Champhai district in Mizoram. It was one of the biggest haul of smuggled wild animals in recent years.
The animals that were rescued included 55 crocodile hatchlings, 22 pythons, 30 tortoises, 18 Sumatran water monitors, four serval cats, two marmosets, four flame bowerbirds and an albino wallaby. These animals are mostly native to New Guinea, Africa and South America. The animals were later handed over to the Customs Preventive Force for legal action. In September 2022, around 41 exotic wild animals, including reptiles and birds, were rescued from two luxury vehicles at Rangiya in Assam's Kamrup Rural district. The animals included 19 primates, 18 tortoises and two wallabies. Investigation revealed that the animals were smuggled from Myanmar through Mizoram. ABP News