Six rare wild cats were rescued by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police on Tuesday while they were being smuggled to Hyderabad. Five Caracals and a Leopard Cat — both rare species protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 — were seized from wildlife smugglers. The animals are currently under care at the Lucknow Zoo.
The cats were recovered from an SUV when police intercepted the car in Mirzapur during a routine check. “Of the three smugglers, one was taken into police custody while the other two managed to escape. Interrogations revealed that the cats were being smuggled through UP to Hyderabad,” said a senior police officer. A case has been filed against the accused under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the police is on a look out for the accomplices who escaped.
District Forest Officer (Mirzapur) KK Pandey said, “We received word of a suspicious looking Innova with a number plate that was intentionally covered with mud in an attempt to avoid detection. The animals were stressed and forcefully crammed into tiny cages. They are currently under veterinary care at the Lucknow Zoo.”