When a dead snake dropped out of a delivery package in India, it not only scared the messenger, but tipped police off to a huge smuggling operation of endangered animal specimens as well.
When they opened up the package, they found it full of dead, preserved animals, including five adult cobras, 97 baby cobras and 91 baby Olive Ridley sea turtles.
“We never thought, not even in our dreams, that someone would send dead animals through a (delivery service),” Manoj Jaiswal, the owner of the delivery company, said.
Police were quickly called and they began an investigation into the strange find. According to a wildlife official, the preserved animals were worth US$10,000 (NT$330,000) on the international market.
Officials believe the specimens are used in science laboratories and, in some cases, in traditional medicines.
The cobra is worshipped in many parts of India, while the Olive Ridley turtle, the smallest of all sea turtles, is endangered.
Following the find, police searched the house of Brijesh Upadhaya, to whom the package was addressed. There they found thousands more dead endangered animals, including sharks, octopuses, seahorses, chameleons and snakes — including cobras, pythons and vipers. They did not find Upadhaya and his wife, but police are looking for him.
Police also arrested two men in the southern city of Chennai, from where the package was sent.
Manoranjan Chaudhry, a wildlife expert, said the smugglers first kill the animals with chloroform. Then they are preserved and sent “to different parts of the globe.”
Chaudhry estimates that a cobra skin sells for between US$100 and US$200. (AP)
1. smuggling n.
走私 (zho3 si1)
例: Police often use trained dogs to stop drug smuggling.
2. specimen n.
標本 (biao1 ben3)
例: Scientists who study insects have to collect specimens in order to know more about them.
3. preserved adj.
防腐的 (fang2 fu3 de5)
例: A mummy is just a preserved human body.
4. estimate v.t.
估計 (gu1 ji4)
例: When I began painting my house, I estimated I would need about 10 cans of paint, but I ended up only needing eight.