KEY POINTS

  • Officials from the Wildlife Crime Control Branch and the Forest Department of Assam conducted the raid
  • Authorities believe there could be an animal body smuggling racket linked to the case
  • Some of the seized species were protected under the Wildlife Protection Act

A large number of deadly snakes, lizard specimens, bones and skins of dead reptiles were seized from a researcher in the northern Indian state of Assam. The raid was conducted late Saturday night by the Wildlife Crime Control Branch (WCCB) and the Forest Department of Assam.

Authorities arrived at the residence of herpetologist Dr. Jayaditya Purkayastha, a renowned researcher working on reptiles in the state, following a tip they received. Local media reports said some of the seized species were protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. The team recovered Burmese pythons, king cobras, lizards, rare species of crab snakes, and other venomous snakes and reptile species of wild animals.

“Both the Forest department and WCCB have registered a case and will continue further investigation. There could be a larger racket of animal body part smuggling,” a WCCB official told local media NorthEast Now.

The official said they became aware of the incident after a person carrying reptile specimens was apprehended at the local airport. During questioning, the person admitted he had collected the reptiles from researcher Purkayastha.

“A raid was conducted at Dr. Purkayastha’s house around 10 pm and a large quantity of specimen of snakes and lizards was seized. There were live reptiles as well, including a Burmese python and cobras. He could not explain his possession with valid documents,” he said.

snakeskin-3376211_640 Snakeskin Photo: Pixabay