x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Two UAE nationals to face animal smuggling charges in India next week

Pair bailed in New Delhi on condition they don't leave the country

DUBAI // Two UAE nationals arrested last week in India for smuggling an endangered primate have been released on bail on the condition they do not leave the country.

Next week the pair will appear in front of two different courts in New Delhi, the Indian capital. The 17-year-old is expected to appear in front of the Juvenile Justice Board on September 25, while his cousin, who is 30, is to have his case heard at the Tis Hazari district court two days later.

“The condition is that they will not leave India without the permission of the respective court,” said an official at India’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, which has charged the men with possession of an endangered species.

The men were arrested by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in New Delhi’s international airport when they were trying to board a flight to Dubai.

They were transferring in India on a Jet Airways flight from Bangkok when officials discovered a rare species of loris hidden in the undergarments of one of the men. A second animal was discovered later in a bin at the airport.

The party consisted of three Emiratis and Indian authorities initially questioned all of them but only two were detained.

Initially, the rare animals were identified as slender lorises but the bureau official said they were in fact slow lorises, which belong to the same subfamily but are a different genus.

The animals, he said, “are a highly endangered species in India”.

The animals were initially cared for at the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre but were later given over to the wildlife bureau officials.

“They were in a very delicate condition and they needed to be cared for for two days before wildlife officers could take them away,” said Dilip Suri, head of the centre.

“They were in shock and their condition was terrible when they came in. They were dehydrated since they were packed and smuggled in underwear so they were in a very constricted space.”

A vet said the baby lorises were fed milk, water and bananas.

“They were under a lot of stress and very upset,” said Dr Harendra Kumar, who treated the animals.

“We kept them in an air conditioned room to cool them down and let them roam around for awhile. Later we placed them in a cage with swings. They were hungry and thirsty.

“Their condition stabilised after two days. We thought it was best to transfer them to wildlife officials since they were not very happy inside the cage. These animals are used to roaming in the wild and don’t like to be in a small space.”