Airport Seizures Emphasize the Role of the Illicit Wildlife Trade in India

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Friday, June 14, 2019
Alex Psilakis

One day they found an African horn pit viper, two rhinoceros iguanas, and three rock iguanas. Less than two weeks before that, they discovered 18kg of peacock feathers. A month before that, they uncovered a leopard cub. The list goes on. This isn’t a zoo, but the Chennai International Airport – a location that has rapidly become a hotspot in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. The customs department at the airport has grown used to seizing creatures and goods that smugglers seek to illegally sneak out the country, such as star tortoises and sea cucumbers. Yet the airport is facing a new challenge in curbing the smuggling of wildlife into the country. A number of reasons help to explain this development...