Four persons were arrested for wildlife smuggling and a Red Sand Boa snake was rescued by the UP Special Task Force (STF), in Gorakhpur, on Monday, senior STF officials said on Tuesday.
The Red Sand Boa is a rare non-poisonous snake used for making certain medicines, cosmetics and in black magic, hence, is in huge demand globally.
The STF officials said one Red Sand Boa snake fetches several lakh rupees and even over a crore in the international market. They said this species of snake is protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and this species was included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species in 2021.
Sharing a press note, the STF officials said those arrested were identified as two Gorakhpur residents Om Prakash Singh and Mohd Saifudeen, a Varanasi resident Ram Shankar Maurya and an Azamgarh resident Raja Ram Yadav.
They said they were arrested from the house of Om Prakash Singh in Shastri Nagar colony, under the Shahpur police station of Gorakhpur, where they had gathered to plan to smuggle the rare snake to China via Nepal. They said in the further investigation three more UP residents Shailendra Yadav, Imran Khan and Arun Singh have been found involved in the smuggling racket.
An STF official said Shailendra Yadav had sent an advance of ₹20 lakh into the bank account of Ram Shankar Maurya, who was arranging things right from bringing the rare snake from a person in Chennai. He said the Chennai man took them along to a jungle in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, which is around five hours from Chennai, from where some unknown people handed over this rare snake to them. He said the STF is further investigating and trying to ascertain who other people are involved in this smuggling racket.