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DRI busts syndicate smuggling exotic macaws from Bangladesh

“The cargo contained 22 exotic birds kept in cramped cages, which had been smuggled in through the Bongaon area of Indo-Bangla border,” the DRI said.  

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a wildlife smuggling syndicate with the arrest of two persons and seizure of a consignment of exotic macaws which had been smuggled from Bangladesh to Kolkata and was on its way to Bengaluru.

The joint operation was carried out in coordination with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Customs Department at the Kolkata airport. The DRI officials intercepted the consignment at the airport’s cargo area on Sunday morning.

“The cargo contained 22 exotic birds kept in cramped cages, which had been smuggled in through the Bongaon area of Indo-Bangla border,” said the agency. The exotic birds were handed over to the Zoological Garden in Kolkata’s Alipore. They were identified as hacinth macaw, pesquet’s parrot, severe macaw and hahn’s macaw.

DRI busts syndicate smuggling exotic macaws from Bangladesh

The DRI said the possibility of spread of zoonotic diseases on account of smuggling in such exotic species was increasingly becoming a global concern against the backdrop of COVID-19.

Same supply chains

Many international syndicates involved in wildlife crime use the same supply chains for various other illegal activities, such as smuggling of drugs, commercial goods, and even gun-running, apart from illegal movement of foreign currency, the agency said.


“The seized macaws are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), with hyacinth macaw being accorded the highest protection,” the DRI said.

The arrested accused were aware that these exotic and highly endangered birds had been smuggled via the Indo-Bangladesh border without any licit documents. They were apparently misled into the illegal wildlife trade, the agency said.

Illegally imported birds are confiscated under Section 111 of the Customs Act, read with the CITES provisions and the Foreign Trade Policy. Also, Sections 48 and 49 of the Wildlife Protection Act prohibit trade or commerce in wild animals, animal articles or trophies. The accused can be sentenced to seven years of jail for the offence.

The agency said illegal wildlife trade was ranked the fourth largest transnational organised crime globally, after the smuggling of narcotics, counterfeit goods and human trafficking. West Bengal and northeast India are vulnerable to cross-border wildlife smuggling because of their proximity to the Bangladesh and Myanmar borders, and to Thailand.


Several seizures

Over the recent years, the DRI has seized a range of endangered species, including black-and-white ruffed lemur, hoolock gibbons, palm civets and Indian star tortoises; and exotic birds, including rosellas, nandin conures, peach-fronted conures, grass parakeets and maroon-tailed conures.

Syndicates smuggling macaws, pygmy falcons, mandarin ducks, kookaburras (kingfishers), java sparrows, star finches, Gouldian finches, cockatiels and aracaris have also been busted. Another major concern has been the smuggling of elephant tusks and ivory products. About 65.33 kg of elephant tusks, tiger teeth and ivory articles have been seized by the agency in six recent cases.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 7:43:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dri-busts-syndicate-smuggling-exotic-macaws-from-bangladesh/article31890379.ece

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