After thousands of dead sea horses, snakes, turtles, scorpions and alligator babies spilled out of formaline-filled containers at a godown in Agra, authorities have offered a Rs.10,000 reward for information on a man believed to be running an international wildlife trafficking racket.
The Uttar Pradesh forest department is on the lookout for Brajesh Upadhyaya, the owner of Braj Scientific Laboratory-the hub of the trafficking racket.
According to a forest official, it could still take a few more days before the full ramifications and links of the international racket-exposed 12 days ago-are known.
The forest department is still busy categorising and identifying the various species found in the godown of Braj Scientific Laboratory at Kailashpuri in Agra. The wide array of specimens has surprised the officials and they are still counting the number of dead creatures.
"It's a complicated job, one we have never before done. Therefore, it will take time," said an official.
The racket came to light on September 13, when a courier service employee in Sanjay Place commercial complex accidentally damaged a carton, spilling its cargo of dead cobras and creating quite a panic.
Among the 197 containers seized from the godown, the biggest haul was that of sea horses, a kind of fish, and more than 5,000 have already been counted.
Some foreign species of fish have also been identified, establishing the international links of the racket.
When the forest department raided Upadhyaya's house, they found thousands of dead creatures stocked in formaline bottles and containers.
The department has so far listed over 300 rare species, including vipers, cobras, turtles and dog-faced water snakes, rat snakes, alligator babies, squirrels and scorpions.
Upadhyaya was also running a branch in Jaipur. Most of his outsourcing was from Chennai, where officials have conducted some raids.