Sunday, 31 October 2010

Smugglers Now After Venomous Snakes

by Ajay Kanth, ExpressBuzz
KOCHI: After ivory, ganja and sandalwood, the smugglers are now madly after King Cobra and other venomous snakes in the forests as 10 ml venom of a King Cobra would fetch crores of rupees in the international black market.
The smuggling of snake venom had come to light after the recent seizure of 200 ml of King Cobra venom at Kanjikode, near Palakkad.
"Though the police had earlier information on operation of such rackets, the seizure of 200 ml of King Cobra venom was the first of its kind in the state.
A case has been registered against two persons and a lab analysis report has confirmed it as King Cobra venom," said Crime Branch SP P Vijayan.
He said as per preliminary reports, the venom would be first smuggled to northern parts of the state from where it would be shipped to South-East Asian nations.
"The enzyme in the venom is processed and converted into a drug which will offer an extra kick when taken along with hashish or brown sugar," Vijayan said and added tha t the smuggling of venom had increased in the recent  times as a lot of big buyers had come forward to offer huge money for it.
"Compared to other contrabands, the venom is easy to smuggle as majority of enforcement agencies cannot easily identify it unless and until a lab analysis is done," said a senior police official. Chief Wildlife Warden K
A Ouseph said there had been a lot of reports on venom smuggling and the Forest Department had already conducted several raids at various places.
"We do not think that the smugglers extract venom after catching snakes in the forest.
Reports have pointed out that the smugglers rear snakes at their homes and  at several clandestine places to extract venom from them," the official  said and added that they would further intensify their operation to track those persons who were violating the provisions in the Wildlife Act.

From: HerpDigest Volume # 10 Issue # 46 10/30/10 (A Not-for-Profit  Publication)

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