Delhi : Cops uncover exotic tortoise being smuggled abroad

Delhi : Cops uncover exotic tortoise being smuggled abroad Tight security for Republic Day and Bihar’s liquor ban proved to be a boon for about 500 vulnerable tortoises in Gaya.

Vijayapura priligy paypal Two poachers carrying a bag each of 244 and 230 Indian star tortoises, which are on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, were arrested from the local railway station and a hotel called Orbit this month. This was while they were to be flown to Bangkok – the international destination for all such trafficked reptiles – through the Bodh Gaya Airport to go into the exotic and illegal pet trade. Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama is residing in the ancient holy city these days to deliver sermons at the Kalachakra Maidan and thousands of devotees from the US, Europe and Southeast Asia have gathered there to listen to him.

distributively chat online deutschland org The police suspect that the tortoises were to be handed over to agents from there for further sale in different parts of the world and especially Bangkok. Even a Traffic report in 2014 pointed out that Varanasi and Gaya have emerged as major transit points for trafficking of freshwater turtles and tortoises with fake religious tourists often being the culprits. « One of these men, a native of Bihar, Rameez Khan, was caught on the AC coach of Kolkata-Jodhpur Express. We were already on alert in view of the approaching Republic Day, » said Gaya Government Railway Police (GRP) chief Parshuram Singh. « Further, our men had noticed that Khan was dragging his bag with a lot of effort and initially thought that it may be a liquor consignment. Later, we were surprised to see so many turtles in it, total 244, and hence it was so heavy. » The other poacher, Jaishankar, was apprehended four days later from a hotel on Station Road, Gaya. SSP Gaya, Garima Mallick, said, « We are still interrogating them to find out who are their local and international partners in this crime. » As opposed to aquatic turtles, which are mostly harvested from Ganga river and its tributaries in Uttar Pradesh, land-dwelling tortoises inhabit scrub forests and semi-arid regions of western India like Gujarat and Rajasthan, and some states in southern India, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. They are mostly herbivorous and feed on grasses, fallen fruit, flowers, and leaves of succulent plants. Despite its hard and protective shell, the Indian star tortoise is successfully preyed upon by a number of other animals in their native habitats. Large birds of prey and other reptiles such as snakes are the most common predators. Because of the star marks on their shells, they are much in demand in the illegal pet trade across Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. They are often discreetly shipped out through the Mumbai and Chennai ports as well in huge numbers. Three consignments of over a thousand turtles were seized in Bangkok in March 2014 and at least two of them were found to be from India. Tilottama Verma, additional director of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), who successfully conducted the ‘Save Kurma’ operation, rescuing thousands of these reptiles in 2017, said, « These catches are extremely important to understand in which direction the trade is going, the people, modus operandi and routes involved. » « We are also at peace to know that the country’s wildlife diversity has been saved with over 400 important species of tortoise stopped from being taken out, » she said. « The tortoises have been handed over to the forest department and are now being safely rehabilitated in the wild. »

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