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Chittoor forest officials nab red sand Boa snakes smuggling gang: One snake seized: 13 arrested

Chittoor East Division forest officials conducted an immediate inquiry with key information they received and nabbed an interstate gang smuggling red sand Boa snakes.

Under the supervision of DFO Narentheran. GG Sub DFO – T. Srinivas Rao, Forest Range officer – Ashok Kumar Yadav, Forest Section officer R.Salauddin and Forest Beat officer- R.Madhu cleverly arrested 13 accused on special initiative. One snake were seized from them. Many praised the efforts of the forest authorities in apprehending the smugglers.

According to DFO Narentheran.GG …

On 13 December 2021 the forest beat officer R. Madhu has received reliable information that smuggling and sale of red sand Boa is taking place in the jurisdiction of Chittoor. Based on the information received he has informed his superior officer R. Salauddin forest section officer of Chittoor East section Forest range officer Mr Ashok Kumar Yadav and they have started surveillance of the entire area. The District police Help was also taken to increase surveillance and report any suspicious movement.

Further all check posts of forest , SEB and Police were notified to increase checking as soon as information is given. Around 1:30 PM the forest department staff along with police officials have identified a particular location – chennamagudipalli opposite to railway gate.

Forest Dept personnel and independent Panchayatdars,  the forest department staff raided the site location and immediately took into custody 13 individuals belonging to Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka while they were trying to make sale of red sand boa snake.

One Mr M Gopal of Ottuvaripalli, Vedamur mandal is the prime accused in the case trying to sell the snake and , Mr. Kannan Pandurangan of Puthagaram village of Tirupattur district of Tamil Nadu is the buyer. Mr. Hiran of Kerala and Raghava Reddy of Karnataka acted as Middlemen in the sale.

One Chevrolet Tavera car ,one Royal enfield bike and one Suzuki access scooter along with 13 cell phones have been seized. The accused have used WhatsApp for regular communication and to send pictures of Snakes.

Further investigation is ongoing.

The Forest Department extends its Thanks and Gratitude to the SP Chittoor, and JD SEB Chittoor for all their support and cooperation and importantly to the Vigilant Public of Chittoor town who gave us information on the illegal Sale of Red sand Boa.

Red Sand Boa – Eryx johnii  or Indian Sand Boa is a snake endemic to India, Iran and Pakistan. The snake prefers dry loose soil and stays underground for most of the day and feeds nocturnally on rats, small birds and lizards In recent times the snake has been smuggled widely due to Superstitious beliefs that the possession of the snake will bring about good luck and wealth further the snake is also traded in international smuggling as it was wrongly believed to be an aphrodisiac and sometimes even cure for AIDS.

The problem is that this particular snake is very slow in its surface movement thereby making it very easy for people to hunt the snake. As the snake is found easily along tank bunds, fringe areas of forest and in agricultural Lands, especially surfacing in rainy season enabling it to be hunted very easily.

For the information of the public it is said that this particular snake provides a very important ecosystem service by maintaining the prey-predator population balance providing very good soil aeration improving soil structure, providing  natural manure to the soil and keeping rat population check thereby being a friend of the farmer and provides natural ploughing of agricultural land.

Loss of this snake from natural habitat would have disastrous consequences to our agricultural ecosystem and as a representative of Andhra Pradesh forest department I would like to request the public Not to believe in such superstitious beliefs and engage in any way in hunting of such beautiful creatures found in our locality. Further the public are encouraged to contact the local authorities in case of any information on smuggling or hunting of wild animals.

The 13 accused in the smuggling of red sand snakes have been produced in the court and remanded till the 28th of this month.

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