Locals alleged that Kurien had earlier kept a crocodile in a pond in the compound too

Kerala mans wild hobby gets him arrested Kept pythons turtle and monitor lizards as home pets
news Wild Life Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 14:58

Police and officials of the Forest Department raided the house of Kurien Joseph, a resident of Mylatoor in Thodupuzha of Idukki district, and found wild reptiles being kept illegally in the compound. 

Kurien was arrested and remanded, on Tuesday, to judicial custody for 14 days.

The joint operation found monitor lizards, a tortoise and pythons on the compound, which were seized.

According to the police, Kurien had set up special cages and made special arrangements in order to keep the monitor lizards and pythons hidden from public view.

“We had to break a wall to find them. The tortoise was freely walking around. The Forest Department has seized them all,” Vazhakkulam Sub Inspector Suvarnakumar told The News Minute.

Kurien Joseph, who had secured a PhD in the US and was living there for many years, had returned to Kerala few years ago. He has been running a resort in Vagamon since then.

Suvarnakumar said that Kurien would display the animals to foreign guests who came to his resort in Vagamon. “Mainly nurturing wild animals was his hobby. People around say there were more animals earlier,” he added.

Some locals had earlier alleged that Kurien was even keeping a crocodile in a pond in the compound. But the locals told police that Kurien had taken it to his resort in Vagamon.

Thodupuzha Forest range officer KN Babu told TNM that Kurien had kept five guard dogs to make sure that outsiders did not enter his compound.

“A case has been registered against him under Sections 9, 39, 50 and 51 of the Wild Life Protection Act. Further investigations are being conducted,” he said.

He added that the animals would be released into forests after the necessary procedures were completed.

The offence came to light when one of Kurien’s employees, Thomas, approached the Vazhakkulam police complaining that his mini lorry and some cows had been seized by Kurien and kept at his house. In his statement, Thomas revealed that Kurien also had some wild animals in his house. 

 

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