The Maharashtra Forest Department has rescued a 10-foot-long king cobra that was smuggled from Odisha. The perpetrator has been arrested, and the snake has been sent back to Odisha via flight, where it will be released in its natural habitat.
According to officials, on January 13, the Railway Police Force (RPF) at Ahmednagar railway station arrested Chandra Bhanu Rankamani Naik, a resident of Bargarh, Odisha, for illegally transporting snakes by Hatia Pune Superfast Express.
“During his interrogation and while checking his camera and laptop, a few names popped up. We were also surprised and shocked to know that there is a king cobra in Maharashtra, which is a non-native species to the state. The search for the snake begun and we called up the suspected people for questioning,” said an official.
During the interrogation on January 18 , the four snake traffickers from Maharashtra, who were called in for questioning, confessed that they had brought a king cobra from Odisha, when they visited Chandra Bhanu in November.
“In a snake swap, they took a Malabar Pit viper, hump-nosed pit viper and albino common krait and handed it over to Chandra Bhanu in exchange of the king cobra. The arrested accused include Avinash Shaha and Prashant aka Sopan Thorat from Sangamner, Akshay Ghodke from Barshi and Jagdish Rewatkar from Chandrapur. Two people were absconding, namely Amar Godambe and Altaf Shaikh, both from Pune,” said an official. More details at Mid Day