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Five tons of live turtles seized near Allahabad


25 January 2009

In one of the largest freshwater turtle hauls ever to be recorded, five tons of live turtles, numbering about 3,000 animals, were seized in Allahabad on Thursday, January 22nd by the Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh Police. The seizure took place at night and three people, who were transporting the turtles in a truck apparently to Kolkata, were arrested and sent to Naini Jail.

Three species listed in Schedule 1 of The Wild Life (Protection) Act were identified; (1) the Indian Flapshell Turtle (Lissemys punctata punctata), (2) the Ganges or Indian Softshell Turtle (Trionyx gangeticus, Milssonia gangeticus), and (3) the Spotted Black Terrapin or Spotted Pond Turtle (Geoclemys hamiltoni). The heaving mass of turtles were stuffed into about 60 jute sacks, with about 50 to 55 turtles in each. The turtles were released under a court order on the banks of the Yamuna River on Friday, in the presence of STF officers, UP state Forest Department officials, and two representatives from WPSI who travelled to Allahabad to assist the authorities in this case.

Earlier in the week, 250 tortoises were seized in Kanpur, also in the state of UP, and one women was arrested. On Sunday, 25 January, four men were arrested by police in Mainpuri district in UP in possession of 150 tortoises.

There is only limited information on the trade in live turtles and tortoises, but going by this huge haul in Allahabad and the other recent seizures, the trade appears to be controlled by an organised nexus of cross-border wildlife criminals, and to be on the rise.


 

 

 

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