In yet another incident of wildlife trafficking case, a month-old leopard cub has been seized from the baggage of a passenger at Chennai International Airport on Saturday. A video showing the cub wrapped in a blanket and being fed using a bottle has gone viral on social networking sites.
As per the Air Intelligence Unit, the passenger was trying to smuggle the leopard cub from Bangkok, but could not make it past security and was arrested. Post that, the passenger has been handed over to Tamil Nadu Forest Department and will undergo legal action.
The retrieved cub was later sent for rehabilitation in the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, about 15 kilometres from Chennai airport. Before being moved by the wildlife officials, the leopard cub, hungry, was fed milk by the airport staff.
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#WATCH Air Intelligence Unit at Chennai International airport has seized a one-month-old leopard cub from the baggage of a passenger. The cub will be rehabilitated in the Aringar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai; Passenger handed over to Tamil Nadu Forest Dept for further action. pic.twitter.com/WgYIBabZ4D— ANI (@ANI) February 2, 2019
The incidents of leopard trafficking have witnessed a sudden surge in the last few days. On January 17, the joint team of Special Operations Group (SOG) and Bageshwar police arrested two people for smuggling skins of two leopards worth Rs 20 lakh in the international market.
On the very next day, leopards were making headlines after poachers shot one big cat in the forest area of Jharet Dhaneta in Palampur, Delhi.
As per the latest data, released by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), a wildlife conservation organisation, over 20,000 wildlife crime cases have been recorded in India in the last few years. The most threatened wildlife species in India include tigers, elephants, leopards and rhinos among 400 others.