Three persons have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle two red sand boa snakes for sale from Pune to Moradabad.

Red sand boa is a snake listed as 'near threatened' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.

The accused have been booked under sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and sent to jail.

Following a tip-off, officials of the forest division posed as customers to the accused and nabbed them during the exchange.

Red Boa snake
Red Boa snakeIANS

The three accused have been identified as Ali Mohammed, Chand Babu and Noor Hasan.

Gyan Singh, sub-divisional forest officer, said, "Our staff posed as customers and made a deal with them. They were caught red-handed on the Noorpur- Seohara road under Chandpur forest range after they showed us the snakes for sale."

A medical examination of the reptiles was also conducted and they were found to be fit. Procedures have been made to release the snakes in their natural habitats on Tuesday, officials said.

(With inputs from IANS)