BY Naalir Jamaldeen
Two German nationals were apprehended for smuggling endemic fauna and flora from the Sinharaja Reserve and other coastal areas in Sri Lanka, including oysters and crabs. The specimens were to be transported to Germany.
Officers from the Wildlife Department and the Deniyaya Police conducted the raid in the Sinharaja Forest.
Deniyaya Police arrested the suspects in the Viharahena and Kurulugala areas of Deniyaya, with the assistance of wildlife officers. Equipment that was used was seized by Police and later turned over to wildlife officers.
Police said the foreigners, aged 47 and 52, were walking through the Sinharaja forest with a Forest Conservation guide when the guide observed that one of them had a chameleon hidden in a bag.
The guide alerted the Sinharaja Green Friends Movement, who then alerted the Deniyaya Police and other relevant entities. Subsequently, when the hotel room where the foreign nationals were staying was searched, Police found rare species of plants hidden in their bags and seized them and arrested the suspects.
Sea crab, leeches, ants, cockroaches and plants endemic to Sri Lanka were among them.