In a recent incident that took place in West Bengal, few local villagers spotted some different, new and weird species of animals in their village. Skeptical about the strange sightings, the villagers alerted the officials in the area about these never-seen-before creatures. When the forest officers visited the scene, they were shocked at what they saw, because the animals turned out to be kangaroos. Kangaroos do not exist in India, hence the shock!
The condition in which they were found was appalling and in the words of the officers the poor animals were “terrified and wounded, and seemed to be searching for something to eat”. Out of the 4 kangaroos that were found on the spot, 3 of them were in extremely poor health, but were alive. One of them, however, was a baby and it was found dead.
Investigations revealed that the kangaroos had been smuggled, originally from parts of Australia and New Guinea and then brought to Asia. These were bred in zoos or sanctuaries in different parts of South-East Asian countries for further trading. A few of these smuggled kangaroos were sent to India, from the border at West Bengal. The smugglers were successful in bringing these kangaroos into India the first 2 to 3 times, but after that, their racket was busted so they abandoned the animals and fled.
This incident has brought the practice of illegal smuggling of exotic animals into the spotlight once again. Trading native Indian species has been completely banned all over the country to prevent any risks regarding the safety and growth of the animals. So, now, in the past few years, the focus has shifted to exotic animals from around the world. They are smuggled into India from various borders and sold to dealers who in turn sell them to zoos, as this is a lucrative business. World-wide it is a multi million dollar industry.
Over the years, Indian officers at customs have found and confiscated many illegal animals such as rare species of monkeys, orangutans, fishes, macaws, cockatoos etc, the list is endless. Since kangaroos were too big to be smuggled through customs, they were sent through the border.
The laws for animal rights must be stronger. Animals must be well protected in our country. These animals can’t be ill-treated and exploited this way, and even if they aren’t harmed in India, the long journeys they cover are harsh and take a toll on the animals. Wild and non-domesticated animals should be left on their own, in the wild, and should not be carried around the world like things or possessions. Protecting animals and ensuring their habitat is safe is the responsibility of humans, so let’s take this seriously.
Written by Anaiya Giare (MYP 2A)