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Seizure of over 4000 illegally
transported turtles in India
The police of Auraiya district in India had a productive start to the new year in the battling against wildlife crime. On the 9th of January 2012 they confiscated a shipment of over 4,000 turtles headed for West Bengal. Four people were arrested on the charge of illegal poaching, with 68 bags each stuffed with approximately 60 turtles, some in critical condition. The shipment included Ganges softshell turtles (Aspideretes gangeticus), Indian narrow-headed softshell turtles (Chtira indica) and Indian flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctata), are all native to India. The turtles worth an estimated Rs 20 lakh ($40,820) were to be exported from West Bengal to countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore from where they may have be re-exported to other consumer nations. Wildlife experts claim shipments such as this usually travel to the Northeastern part of the country by train and are smuggled to other countries by ship.
An Auraiya forest ranger reported the turtles originated from villages surrounding the Bharthana area and were released back into their natural habitat the day after the confiscation.
Press Release by: Sarah Wahl – Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC), Cuc Phuong National Park
Source: Times of India (online) - 12th January 2012
[Photo source: unknown]
Above: The scene presented to police checking the truck cargo – over 4,000 turtles cramped into over 68 bags
Above: A large Indian Softshell Turtle (Aspideretes gangeticus) in the shipment