The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two members of an alleged international wildlife smuggling gang and rescued two cheetahs from their possession at Fatullah of Narayanganj sadar upazila yesterday.
On information, Rab-11 conducted a raid at Raghunathpur of Fatullah and arrested Shawkat Islam Mithu, 40, and Ariful Islam, 35.
Addressing a press conference at Raghunathpur, Rab-11 acting battalion commander Maj Ashiq Billah said the two big cats were kept in the house of smuggler Mithu. He said the value of the pair will be at least Tk 1 crore in the international market.
In primary interrogation, the arrestees said they brought in the cheetahs in a cargo plane from Africa about six days back and were planning to send them abroad in an opportune moment, the official said.
Maj Ashiq said the duo had been working as agents of an international wildlife smuggling gang for a long time, and they admitted that they had brought in wildlife of rare species at different times and later smuggled those abroad.
Recently they have smuggled out two rare species of white lions, he said.