Wildife smuggler held in UP’s Amethi, 6430 tortoises seized
Lucknow: What could easily be termed as the biggest catch, the police and the wildlife authorities on Tuesday arrested the kingpin of a wild animal smuggling gang and recovered 6430 tortoises concealed in 115 gunny bags from a village in Amethi district of the state.
A senior police official told indileak that on receiving a tip off, a team of policemen from the Special Task Force raided Chaturipur village under Gauriganj police station of Amethi district and succeeded in nabbing one Raj Bahadur Singh, the kingpin of smuggling gang dealing in wild animals. “Following interrogation of the arrested smuggler, the police raided Chaturipur village and seized 6430 tortoises kept in 115 gunny bags concealed in heap of paddy straw,” said the police official.
He further said that off late Amethi has turned into a hub of illegal trade of tortoise. “Smugglers active in the trade get tortoise netted from adjoining districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and from here, the consignment is dispatched to Bengal which is the most flourishing market for sale of tortoise,” said the official.
The seized tortoises were later handed over to the forest department which in due course of time would release them in the rivers.
An official of the wildlife wing of the state forest department said that the demand for tortoises is high in international market as it is considered a delicacy in the far east countries.
The tortoise is also considered to be a aphrodisiac besides being used for making oriental medicines, added the forest official.
He said that the poaching of tortoise is posing a serious threat to the aquatic environment as it acts as a natural scavenger since it feeds on dead and decaying bodies that pollute the river water.