Sleuths of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Assam Forest department officials in a joint operation have seized a huge cache of snake and lizard specimens from the possession of a researcher in Guwahati.
Some of the seized species are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The snake and lizard specimens were seized on Saturday night from the residence of herpetologist Dr Jayaditya Purkayastha, a renowned researcher, who has been working on reptiles.
A WCCB official said that prima facie, the documents produced by Dr Purkayastha in his support were not accepted as valid permit by the investigating agencies.
“Both the Forest department and WCCB have registered a case and will continue further investigation. There could be a larger racket of animal body part smuggling,” he said.
The official added that the matter came to light when a person carrying reptile specimens was apprehended at the LGBI Airport on Saturday and during his interrogation, he admitted that he was carrying the samples from Dr Purkayastha.
“A raid was conducted at Dr Purkayastha’s house around 10 pm and a large quantity of specimen of snakes and lizards was seized. There were live reptiles as well, including a Burmese python and cobras. He could not explain his possession with valid documents,” he said.