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India a new market for trafficked animal species from Thailand?

India has recently emerged as a potential market for several CITES-listed animal species being smuggled out of Thailand, with the interdiction of more than six trafficking cases in the past four months involving Indian smugglers.

According to Director of the Division of Wild Fauna and Flora Protection Prasert Sornsathapornkul, four trafficking cases were intercepted in August alone and the alleged perpetrators are Indian nationals, indicating that more Indian people want to raise rare animal species as pets.

He said, however, that all alleged traffickers arrested are thought to be couriers, hired by middlemen in India to smuggle the animals from Thailand, adding that some of the rare animals are not native and are being illegally bred here for export.

Prasert said that he will raise this issue with Indian delegates at the CITES CoP19 meeting in Panama this November, so that some joint measures can be developed to stop the trafficking.

He disclosed that most of the intercepted animals are small monkeys, such as marmosets, Indian star and Burmese star tortoises, leopards and rare snakes.

He said that his officials have been trying to figure out whether there is a connection between the recent trafficking cases and those in previous months, while trying to locate the sources of these animals in Thailand.

To protect CITES-listed animal species, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has issued an edict designating 68 species as protected animals, the possession of which must be declared to authorities.

The edict is expected to come into force in the next 1-2 months, after its publication in the Royal Gazette.

The latest lot of trafficked animals bound for India was intercepted today at Suvarnabhumi international airport, in the luggage of an Indian national. The seized animals included six marmoset monkeys, one desert fox, two white pythons, two green lizards, three Bengal monitor lizards and one racoon, worth a total of 98,000 baht.

PBS

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