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175 turtles recovered in Lucknow, released in Ganga

Times of India, Delhi, 27th July 2014


In a joint operation by police and forest department, 175 turtles weighing over 15 quintals, were seized near Mohansarai bypass in Rohania area on Saturday. The turtles were being smuggled to West Bengal for being sold in international market. The smugglers managed to escape. The police seized the vehicle, in which turtles were being transported. The forest department released the turtles in Ganga at Rajghat. The police tried to stop a vehicle crossing through the bypass. In an attempt to evade police, the driver lost control and the vehicle stopped after hitting the road divider. Two smugglers, including the driver, fled from the scene leaving the vehicle (No UP 33 Q 3435) abandoned. The recovered turtles, 5 to 50 kg in weight, were packed in bags.


The police found a driving licence of a person identified as Mathura of Rae Bareli. It was suspected that the turtles were being transported from Rae Bareli. The seized turtles were handed over to the forest department for releasing them into Ganga. The recovered turtles belonged to Indian soft shell and Indian tent turtle species. Smuggling of turtle through Varanasi is common. About 3000 turtles recovered from smugglers were released into Ganga in last two years. According to report of wildlife trade monitoring network, Varanasi is one of the places being increasingly used for smuggling of tortoises and freshwater turtles. The final destination for these turtles, smuggled via Bangkok, is Hong Kong.