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Threatened tortoises & turtles rescued from Kolkata, two held

Threatened tortoises & turtles rescued from Kolkata, two held

KOLKATA: The officers of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) in a joint effort with the crime control unit of the state forest department seized 76 turtles and tortoises from two traders in Sodepur on Thursday morning.

A senior officer said that there were four different species, of which two are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. Two of the species are also threatened. The two youths, who have been arrested, were identified as Subho De and Sombhu Mondal, both residents of Sodepur.

« Forty four Indian tent turtles, 27 star tortoises, one crowned river turtle and four spotted pond turtles have been seized, » said a forest department official, adding that Indian tent turtle and spotted pond turtle are protected under the Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.

What’s more, spotted pond turtle — also known as black pond turtle — has been classified as ‘threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (Indus and Ganges river drainages), northeastern India ( Assam) and Bangladesh.

Crowned river turtle has also been classified as ‘threatened’ by IUCN. This turtle, also known as brahminy river turtle (Hardella thurjii), is a species of turtle found in northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the watersheds of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus rivers.
An official of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) said that these turtles were being sold as pets and some of these were smuggled out of India too. « We had received tip-off a few days back. Working on that, we raided the duo’s hideout on Thursday morning and arrested them. Relevant sections of the wildlife act have been slapped and the duo will be produced in court on Friday, » he said, adding that star tortoise is protected under Schedule IV of the wildlife protection act.