BENGALURU: With sand boa smuggling rampant in the state and the protected species fetching a high price in the international market, four people were arrested in Kadur in Chikkamagaluru district on Sunday when they were trying to market these species.
The accused are Pradeep and Naveen, both residents of Kadur, and Mallesh and Manju, residents of Shivamogga district. They were caught at Anchechoomanahalli gate near Kadur Range, Chikkamagaluru territorial division.
The hunters had found the sand boas in an agricultural field and had packed them in a drum full of sand. They were caught while they were transporting it on their motor bike and were making arrangements for its sale.
Acting on a tip off, Kadur range officials led by range forest officer Mohan arrested the four and booked a case under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The rare and endemic species has been under the radar of international smugglers from China, Vietnam and Nepal. Local residents are encouraged to catch them and sell them to the agents, says G Veeresh, wildlife conservationist. Boas are used in medicines, aphrodisiacs, cosmetics and in black magic rituals.
“Both the police and the forest department have been keeping a close watch on such smuggling activities and have apprehended many people. Since the species is harmless, it is easy to catch them,” he said.