A local multi-day fishing trawler and 05 suspects held for smuggling bird and reptile species in southern waters

In a significant crackdown on wildlife smuggling, the Sri Lanka Navy deployed Sri Lanka Coast Guard ship Suraksha to seize a local multi-day fishing trawler and apprehend 05 suspects involved in smuggling of several bird and reptile species. The operation was mounted in the southern waters on 07th July 2024.

The Sri Lanka Navy and the Coast Guard continuously carry out operations to combat a wide range of smuggling rackets along the country's seas and coastlines.

This operation was conducted based on a comprehensive information analysis by Naval Intelligence over an extended period, focusing on a smuggling racket of birds and reptiles. Upon inspection of the suspicious trawler in the southern waters, a variety of 13 pythons, 01 monitor lizard, 01 tortoise and 03 parrots were found, raising concerns over an act of wildlife smuggling. Thus, the fishing trawler, along with 05 suspects, was taken into custody.

The multi-day fishing trawler was escorted to the Galle harbour in the dark hours of 08th July, where officials of the Department of Wildlife Conservation examined the animals and identified them as non-native species to Sri Lanka.

The multi-day trawler, which was held on the charges of wildlife smuggling, has left Negombo for fishing activities. The suspects held in this operation were identified as residents of Negombo and Kochchikade, who are from 34 to 67 years of age. The apprehend suspects along with the trawler and animals were handed over to the Department of Wildlife Conservation - Hikkaduwa for onward legal action.

It is believed that these animals were smuggled, either to be brought into the country from abroad or to be sent to another destination. The Sri Lanka Navy is diligently conducting operations to combat smuggling activities of this nature that harm the country's ecosystem.