Orangutan smuggling


ELURU, June 23, 2015
Updated: June 23, 2015 05:46 IST

Police, forest officials blame each other over orangutans

Faced with the embarrassment of releasing a gang that had been caught transporting two baby orangutans last week, the West Godavari police blamed Forest Department officials and even staff of the Vizag zoo for not identifying the endangered animals correctly and alerting them to the existence of a smuggling racket.

“We referred the case to the forest authorities and they said the animals were only monkeys and that they did not figure in the list of endangered species. So we freed the gang,” said a police officer.

However, forest officials said they were not alerted soon enough.

A five-member gang was intercepted in the wee hours of June 17 by a police team conducting vehicle checks at Chebrolu. They were discovered to be transporting a pair of baby orangutans in a cage.

“We took the gang and the caged animals into custody around midnight and alerted forest officials in West Godavari district about the seizure. We sent photographs of the animals to them. But till the next morning the officers did not clarify what species of animal they were,” said a senior police officer.

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