Kangaroos never existed in India. And yet, in forests located in the far east of the country, it is now possible to come face to face with these marsupials. They are hungry and frightened kangaroos, smuggled in from neighboring countries for the purpose of being sold as exotic pets.
This phenomenon has been pointed out in India since the appearance of videos that have gone viral on social networks. Each time, we see kangaroos in a critical state of health, desperately looking for food in front of amazed inhabitants, who often have never heard of these funny animals.
At the beginning of April, three of these marsupials were, for example, rescued by wildlife officers in West Bengal. Completely dehydrated, one of them did not survive.
—Sudhakar Kumar (@MyPicsSpeaks) April 2, 2022
According to the New York Times, this species is the latest victim of the whims of wealthy residents of New Delhi, Mumbai, and other major Indian cities where many are willing to pay a fortune to own an exotic pet. Raised in Southeast Asia, kangaroos, which sometimes end up in the wild, are smuggled into the country overland for sale. An increasing trend, favored by completely outdated legislation.
A legislative problem
In view of the legislative largesse, smuggling is therefore going well. Every year, thousands of non-indigenous species such as falcons, chimpanzees or Aldabra giant tortoises are introduced into the country. Often, they will end up as pets of wealthy owners. The country does not have laws allowing the prosecution of persons in possession of exotic species, such as that of the kangaroo. Only the act of smuggling in is punishable. Thus, if the smuggler manages to successfully introduce the animal into the territory, he and the buyer have little chance of being arrested.
Faced with this problem, the Indian Parliament is working on more appropriate legislation, says the New York Times. Legislation which should place the question of the possession of exotic species under the responsibility of wildlife protection authorities, and no longer on that of customs officers.