- A sand boa smuggler was caught in Ernakulam last week
- Sand boas bring money according to Malaysian superstitions
- Sand boas and other rare animals sell for crores in the international market illegally
A non-venomous snake like sand boa is found in Kerala and other South Indian snakes and has a long history of being trafficked to South-East Asian countries.
P M Sajith, an inspector with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), had caught four sand boas meant for overseas trade in the past year from different parts of Ernakulam district.
Sajith told The New Indian Express of a recent case. “A few weeks ago, we had a case in which we caught a person from Edavanakkad looking to sell a sand boa. In the guise of a potential customer, we approached him and he demanded Rs 10 crore for a red sand boa. We bargained and brought the price down to Rs 5 crore. We have information people from countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Japan are coming to Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to buy sand boas. Even though traders demand crores of rupees for sand boa, on an average, each sand boa is procured for around Rs 20-50 lakh.”
In August last year, two engineering students from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh were arrested while trying to sell a rare two-headed sand boa. The police pegged the reptile to be around Rs. 10 lakh in domestic market and Rs. 2 crores in the international market.
In September last year, four people were arrested by the Chikkajala police while trying to sell a two-headed red sand boa worth Rs. 1 crore. The four were part of a smuggling racket that dealt with rare animals.
Apart from Malaysia, countries like China, Singapore and Japan also believe sand boas to be lucky, and that they possess medicinal values.
About the trafficking in Kerala, Sajith further told The New Indian Express that, “In a majority of the cases reported in Ernakulam, youngsters aged 18-30 would be involved. For making easy money, they get involved in such illegal trade.”
He also said that the trafficking would increase once the monsoon starts.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:57 PM IST