Published On: Wed, Mar 22nd, 2017

Wildlife smugglers arrested, 23 red crowned roof turtle recovered

Agra: At least 23 rare species of red crowned roof turtle, popularly called `lal tilakdhari’, were recovered from international wildlife smugglers by a team of forest and police officials in a joint operation.

The critically endangered seized species of turtle is protected under Schedule (I) of the Indian Wildlife Act

According to a senior forest official, in a joint operation by the forest department and the UP STF, success was achieved in nabbing wildlife smuggler Ajay Singh and his accomplice Deependra Singh. From the arrested wildlife smugglers 23 rare species of turtle, the red crowned roof turtle (Batagur kachuga) was recovered. The consignment was being transported to Chennai, said the forest official.

The forest official said that the critically endangered seized species of turtle is protected under Schedule (I) of the Indian Wildlife Act.

Though as per information, there had been regular inputs from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) about these turtles being smuggled in huge numbers but not a single turtle was seized in last five years but with the change of guard, the priority of the administration seems to have changed and the result is there for one and all to see, said a wildlife expert.

Sources in the police said that the arrested wildlife smuggler had been actively involved in poaching for at least five years. He had been poaching the turtles from Yamuna and Chambal and then from there transporting the turtle to Chennai and Bengal for selling them in international market to fetch lucrative price.

“This was confessed by the arrested poacher during interrogation,” said a police official.

He said that the seized variety of turtle (red crowned roof turtle) are normally sold at the rate of about Rs 4,000 per turtle and the same fetches a whooping sum of Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh in Thailand and Singapore.

The recovered turtles will be released in their natural habitat, said the forest official.

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