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Three arrested in Maharashtra for smuggling two leopard cubs

The accused were smuggling the cubs from Bengaluru to Pune, said police. They were nabbed on the Satara-Pune highway.

mumbai Updated: May 21, 2019 00:58 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
mumbai,leopard,smuggling
The three-month old cubs were taken to Katraj Zoo in Pune.(Pune forest department)

The Maharashtra police on Monday arrested three people for allegedly smuggling two three-month-old leopards. They were caught on the Satara-Pune highway. The accused, booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, have been identified as Ayaz Pathan, 40; Habib Sayyad, 31; and Irfan Shaikh 33.

Rajgadh police officers stopped an SUV at the Khed Shivpur toll plaza around 12.30pm for a routine check. “After a thorough check of the car, we found two leopard cubs inside two separate boxes. The driver and other passengers confessed that they were smuggling the cubs from Bengaluru to Pune,” said a police officer.

The Pune forest department said the cubs are healthy but dehydrated. “The cubs were transported to Katraj Zoo and will be kept in captivity. They are under extreme stress as they seem to have been taken away from their mother,” said SB Mane, assistant conservator of forest, Pune forest department. “The police is investigating a larger smuggling nexus involved in transporting more such protected species across states.”

First Published: May 21, 2019 00:57 IST