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Bengal probing smuggling of animals

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Kolkata, Nov 6 (IANS) The smuggling of endangered animals via north Bengal has increased recently and a probe has been launched into it, an official of West Bengal’s forest department said Thursday.

“We have received unconfirmed reports that gangs have become active. They allegedly have links in northeast states of India and neighbouring countries like China, Nepal etc. We are investigating it,” Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife, North, Vipan Kumar Sood told IANS Thursday.

The city of Siliguri in north Bengal is the transit point for the neighbouring countries and is important to the smugglers, said Sood.

“We have strengthened our intelligence network,” he said.

Three people were arrested Tuesday and two Red Sand Boa snakes seized from them in the state’s Jalpaiguri district. Considered to be a lucky mascot and rumoured to carry Iridium in its scales, the snakes are in huge demand in the black market.

Baikunthapur Divisional Forest Officer Dharmdeo Rai said the trio was nabbed from near the national highway 31 and were booked under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

Earlier in October, forest officials seized two lizards (geckos) in Jalpaiguri.

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