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HUGE CACHE OF TORTOISES SEIZED FROM DOON EXPRESS

At least 140 tortoises, kept in jute bags, were recovered by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) from a train at Dhanbad Junction on Thursday.

The RPF personnel recovered the rare species from a Kolkata-bound train.

A wildlife smuggler has also been arrested, informed a railway official.

“The animals were kept in jute bags and recovered during a search in S9 boggy of Doon Express, which were being smuggled to West Bengal,” added the official.

The arrested person has been identified as Vishwa Bishwas, a resident of Kolkata. He has confessed of procuring the tortoises from nomadic people at Jonpur in UP, said an RPF official adding “after completing the required legal procedures, we have handed over the recovered tortoises to the forest department authorities so that they could be kept alive. An FIR has been lodged against Bishwas while we are on move to get others who working in nexus with him,” he added.

Sources said tortoises were being smuggled to West Bengal from several districts of UP regularly in a big way and RPF have recovered many consignments during past few months. People smuggle it for meat and medicinal properties, said a wildlife expert.

Though it is mainly smuggled for its meat consumption in Bengal and Bangladesh, besides being exported to Thailand, where its soup is popular.

“Trade of such creatures is prohibited according to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. But it is sold for Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per kgs” he added.
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