Sale of exotic animals: Forest officials raid Crawford Market, but find nothing

Oct 21, 2014, 08:16 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Following a mid-day report on alleged trade of birds and reptiles by Byculla zoo officials, forest department raided the market several times to nab those selling exotic fauna illegally, but without positive outcome

Taking serious note of the report published in mid-day (‘Animal trust alleges Byculla zoo involved in illegal animal trading’, Oct 14) that highlighted the alleged trade of birds and reptiles by Byculla zoo authorities, the forest department (FD) officials conducted various raids at Crawford Market to rein in the alleged traders involved in selling of exotic fauna.

mid-day report on October 14
mid-day report on October 14

An FD official said, “After the article was published in mid-day, we raided Crawford Market on several occasions to nab culprits involved in the illegal trade of protected species of birds and reptiles. But, we couldn’t find anyone. We visited the market every time we got a tip-off, but to no avail.”

An official requesting anonymity claimed that after this paper published its report, a few licensed shops that sell exotic species are doing business only after verifying the buyer’s authenticity. “I approached a seller by posing as a potential buyer for a scheduled-1 reptile. He turned me down, saying that it was illegal to sell animals protected by the law. After the report came out, those involved in the illegal trade of exotic animals have become extra cautious.”

The case
In the October 14 report, this paper highlighted that a Navi Mumbai-based charitable trust accused the Byculla zoo authorities of indulging in illicit sale of birds and reptiles.

Based on an inventory report submitted by the zoo to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Myvets Charitable Trust had claimed that while the breeding of birds was ongoing at farmhouses of private parties, there were no records of breeding in the zoo for the last 16 years.

The trust had even sent e-mails to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), asking them to investigate the matter.

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