Telangana Forest Dept. Nabs Gang Smuggling Turtles

Hyderabad, July 31 (Maxim News): The undercover operation conducted by vigilance party – II and anti-poaching squad of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) in catching offenders involved in illegal trade of Assam roofed turtle in Hyderabad (inter-state ramification).

Based on reliable information here on Saturday, a team lead by M. Raja Ramana Reddy, District Forest Officer, Vigilance-II has inquired 2 suspicious persons near Ramanthapur, Hyderabad and on verification at the spot of offence detected, the Anti-Poaching staff have recovered 330 numbers live Assam Roofed Turtle or Sylhet Roofed Turtle (Pangshura sylhetensis) and Indian Tent Turtle belonging to family of Geoemydidae which falls under Schedule-I of Wildlife Act placed in a bag from 2 accused persons and took them into custody.

Accordingly and on further enquiry it is revealed that their namesare as Shiva Balak R/o Bakhtiyar Nagar, Lucknow of Uttarpradesh(A1)and Rahul Kashyap R/o Bakhtiyar Nagar, Lucknow of Uttarpradesh (A2) and confessed that one of the accused by name Shiva Balak (A1)had bought from Lucknow. The above said turtles were collected from Gomti River in Uttar pradesh by their accomplices who in turn sent them over to Hyderabad by train for selling them to their prospective buyers which includes some of the aquarium shops and pet stores in and around Hyderabad.

The accused persons also confessed that they are doing this business on regular basis to earn quick money in easy manner. The accused persons have also confessed that they were selling the above said turtles for an whole sale amount of Rs.400/- per pair. The retail price is expected to be anywhere around Rs.800/- to Rs.1000/- per pair. Please Note:- The Aquarium / Pet shop owners who buy the above mentioned turtles from the accused are thinking of that the turtles are of Singapore Turtles / Green Turtles which are exotic and easily available in the market and the said Aquarium / Pet owners are unaware of that these seized turtles come under Schedule-I of Wildlife Act, 1972. This inter-state gang has already brought a sizeable number of above said turtles on many occasions before this and they successfully disposed off the stock in and around Hyderabad for making huge profits by putting local flora and fauna at risk as most of the turtles are abandoned into local water bodies once they attain adulthood.

Two of them were arrested on Saturday and handed over to Forest Range Officer, Uppal Range of Medchal District for taking further action. (Maxim News)

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