Rare wildlife species seized at Chennai airport

Rare wildlife species seized at Chennai airport

The red squirrel, one of the seized animals at the airport. Photo: ANI/Twitter

Rare wildlife species like kangaroo rats and red squirrel that were allegedly smuggled into the country from Thailand were seized at the airport here on Sunday and one person detained in this connection.

The customs department officials on a specific input intercepted a 28-year-old passenger, who arrived here from Bangkok. During interrogation, the passenger was evasive in his reply, following which the sleuths examined his baggage and recovered the rare animals that were given to him in a stroller bag by someone outside Bangkok airport, an official release said on Sunday.

The passenger informed the customs officials that some unknown person outside Chennai airport would identify him by his photograph to collect the items.

The Customs department called in the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau officials, who identified the animals as 'Banner Tailed Kangaroo Rats' 12 numbers, 'three Prairie Dogs' both native of North America, a 'Red Squirrel', and five numbers of a reptile species 'Blue Iguana Lizard'.

A team of Veterinary doctors from Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur examined the animals and found them to be healthy. The wildlife species were seized under the provisions of Customs Act 1962 with Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act. The passenger was detained and further investigation was on, the release said.