1500 turtles seized, 6 UP natives held
Kolkata: In a joint operation with Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, the state Forest department intercepted more than 1500 turtles, including 188 dead Indian soft shelled turtles, from Barasat in North 24 Parganas on Wednesday morning and arrested six persons.
"The raid was conducted by the forest division of North 24 Parganas and WCCB, Barasat," said VK Yadav, state Chief Wildlife Warden. Acting on a tip off, a pick up vehicle having a number plate of Uttar Pradesh was intercepted. As many as 1295 live Indian soft shelled turtles, 17 live Peacock mark soft shelled turtles and 188 dead turtles were recovered from the vehicle.
The arrested persons were identified as Ajay Kumar (29), Bikram Kumar (32), Babuva, (41), Suresh (34), Pintu Kumar (18) and Vijay (25). They are all residents of Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Indian Soft shelled turtles come under the vulnerable category. Being scavengers, they play a very important role in maintaining the ecological balance of the river ecosystem. The arrested persons claimed to have caught the turtles from Chambal and Ganges river system in UP.
"The river system in UP has a very delicate faunal ecosystem. Catching of turtles is harmful for the river ecosystem," said Agni Mitra Deputy Director (eastern region), WCCB.
The turtles were being taken to markets in Barasat and Bongaon in North 24 Parganas.