Snakes on a plane amid biscuits & cakes; 1 held at Sahar airport | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: Eleven dozen snakes hidden in packets of biscuits and cakes that had come in on a flight from Bangkok. While the flyer was arrested at Sahar airport, the snakes – nine ball pythons and two corn snakes were packed off on the next available flight to Bangkok. The snakes were found in the passenger’s check-in luggage, said officials of Directorate of Revenue intelligence who claimed to have busted a wildlife smuggling syndicate with this arrest.
Officials of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau confirmed the identification of the seized snakes imported in violation of Cites – an international agreement between two countries that aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten survival of the species.
The busting of exotic species of snakes points to a “lucrative, multi-million industry”, pointed out Pawan Sharma, wildlife warden.
“At any point, wildlife crimes comprise 20% of top crimes world over. Sadly, the big fish often go scot-free while carriers get caught,” he said, adding that such small fish with small consignments are sent out to divert attention from big consignments.
The modus operandi of wildlife cartels, quite like in the latest seizure, is to smuggle banned creatures by shipping them in containers labelled as ‘ornamental fish’. “Crates containing the banned creatures are stacked below the crates of ornamental fish to hoodwink authorities. What works well for smugglers is that consignments of live animals are not put through scanners to pre-empt any harm due to radiation,” said Sharma who is also president of RAWW, a non-profit that works to rescue wildlife. “Typically, random checks are done which help smugglers sneak in banned wildlife.”
Exotic pets is a huge market. Today, having an exotic pet, including wildlife, has become a status symbol. “Some exotic pets can be bought for just Rs 5,000,” he said.


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