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Wildlife Crime

Turtles for sale seized from Swarupnagar house

Reptiles listed as ‘vulnerable’ in India

Snehal Sengupta | Published 01.06.22, 07:06 AM
Some of the rescued turtles on Tuesday.

Some of the rescued turtles on Tuesday.

Forest department

Forest department officials found more than 500 Indian softshell turtles, which were allegedly meant to be transported to various markets, in a house in Swarupnagar in North 24-Parganas district on Tuesday.

“Among the turtles found, 88 were dead. Some had their shells removed,” said a forest department official.


“The rescued turtles are Indian softshell turtles, which are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. Possessing, trading in or killing members of any species under Schedule I of the act is punishable by a jail term varying between three and seven years,” said a senior official of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, an agency under the ministry of environment and forests.

A team of officials from the bureau and the North 24-Parganas forest division raided the house following a tip-off.

Two men, involved in fish trade, were allegedly in the house during the raid and were arrested.

“The two are members of a racket involved in trading in turtles. We are trying to track down other members of the gang. The turtles found in the house were meant to be taken to wet markets in Madhyamgram, Barasat and other areas for sale,” said an official of the bureau.

Inside the house, the raiding team found several crates covered with gunny bags stashed in one of the rooms.. The turtles were found inside the plastic crates, the official said.

The turtles were of various sizes. Several had died because of improper transportation.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Indian softshell turtle as “vulnerable” on its Red List of threatened species. The IUCN website says the turtle is “considered endangered in Bangladesh and vulnerable in India, its main range state”.

Last updated on 01.06.22, 07:06 AM

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