Agartala: Police in North Tripura District on Friday night seized a huge number of rare wildlife species of caged birds and lizards.

The police said the endangered animals were found from the possession of 45-year-old Debi Chandra at Batrashi area under Dharmanagar sub-division. The animals were in transit and supposed to reach Agartala. A specific case has been registered in this regard to trace the mastermind behind the smuggling nexus, a police official told EastMojo.

The seizure included two hornbills of African origin, one black cockatoo, 6 meerkat birds and 307 Iguana lizards.

Superintendent of Police North Tripura District Kiran Kumar said, “We received an input that a woman with some endangered wild animals was heading towards Agartala. Accordingly, we raided the hotel where she was staying and all the birds and lizards were seized. The animals were kept in unscientific conditions, which also led to the death of a few. In collaboration with the forest department, all these animals were sent to Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary for treatment and to provide them a conducive habitat for living.”

According to preliminary interrogation, the woman was only acting as a facilitator for smooth transport of animals to Agartala.

“During interrogation, she revealed that she received the whole consignment from Ahmedabad in Gujarat. A lorry carrying the birds and lizards kept in portable enclosures reached Dharmanagar a few days back from where she took the delivery. Her job was to transport the whole consignment safely to Agartala,” Kumar told EastMojo over the phone. The accused woman is a railway cleaning staff. She hails from Rajasthan but is now settled in Pune, he added.

The police also found out that all these animals were international species. “We have seized two hornbills, which are of African origin. There are around eight cat birds and Iguana lizards. All these species are hardly found in the North Eastern region or in other parts of the country. We are trying hard to track the people who had been instructing the lady so that the mystery behind this case could be unfolded as soon as possible”, said Kumar.

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