Chennai: After the seizure of exotic animals, including 22 snakes and a chameleon, from a female passenger arriving from Kuala Lumpur, authorities at the international airports in Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchu, and Coimbatore are on high alert.
Customs and DRI officials have deployed special squads at all four airports and extra vigil is in place after the seizure of the exotic animals at the Chennai airport.
The woman had many snakes and reptiles in her checked luggage, including a green cornsnakes, a Mexican black kingsnakes, a green anacondas, and a chameleon.
Customs officials intercepted the woman after specific inputs on her arrival that she was carrying the exotic animals with her.
After a long time, pet traders sent contraband from Malaysia rather than from Thailand which was earlier the hot spot for smuggling of exotic animals.
There are concerns that additional exotic species would be smuggled via airports in Tamil Nadu, and IANS has heard from reliable sources that snakes are being smuggled because they don't need food or ventilation for survival.
According to Indian customs officers, most travellers coming from Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand to India originate from Tamil Nadu, making the state a prime target for smugglers. The smugglers, according to the customs officials have tried a different airport to mislead the officials at Chennai.
Officials claim that since January 1, 2023, they have confiscated five different exotic species through the airport in Chennai.—Inputs from Agencies