Police pose as prospective clients to bust illegal wildlife trade in Karnataka

Police pose as prospective clients to bust illegal wildlife trade in Karnataka

A file photo of a sand boa, which was among the animals being smuggled by the gang busted by the Bengaluru police.

A file photo of a sand boa, which was among the animals being smuggled by the gang busted by the Bengaluru police.
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In a 20-day-long operation, Vyalikaval police busted a wildlife trade racket and arrested five smugglers who were selling sand boa, elephant tusk and six pairs of deer horns.

On being alerted about the illegal trade, a team led by Inspector Shankaragowda Basanagoudara approached the accused in three different places and lured them into a trap.

“It was very difficult to convince the accused who would not meet us in person until they were convinced that we were actual buyers,” Mr. Shankaragowda said .

The police made an elaborate plan to lure the wildlife smugglers. They created a fake identity and cooked up a story that they are wildlife artefact collectors to convince the accused to meet them.

Police arrested Chandrashekhar M.D., 43, from Mysuru red-handed when he arrived with two sand boas for sale. The next day, they pinned down Rangaswamy, 38, from Tumakuru, and Lokesh, 33, from Kanakapura, along with an elephant tusk.

Police are trying to ascertain the source of the tusk.

They suspect Rangaswamy and Lokesh of being part of a gang of poachers that hunt down wildlife in the forests in and around Ramanagara.

In another development, the team nabbed Shekhar K.M., 40, from Nagamangala in Mandya district, and his associate Raymond Mariyappa, 45, from Ramanagara. They seized six pairs of deer horns which the duo had brought to Bengaluru to sell to the police team. The duo is suspected to be part of a group that hunts deer to consume its meat and sell the horns.

All the accused have been booked under various sections of the Wildlife Act.

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