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Monday, January 01, 2018
1,416 softshell turtles seized, three held in Odisha
Correspondent :
MALKANGIRI: In a major breakthrough, Kalimela range forest officials seized 1,416 live endangered softshell tortoises and turtles near MPV-65 while being smuggled from Amalapuram in Andhra Pradesh to the district.

Divisional Forest Officer Samrat Gouda said the tortoises were reportedly smuggled to prepare delicacies in restaurants of southern Odisha on the eve of new year celebrations on Sunday. All the endangered tortoises and turtles were rescued and will be released into the river near Motu, he added.

Acting on a tip-off, Kalimela forest sleuths led by Range Officer Rama Chandra Madkami, forester Suresh Swain and Anil Bala intercepted a pick-up van and seized the exotic turtles and tortoises including 72 dead worth over `10 lakh. The officials also nabbed three persons under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the vehicle has also been seized.

The arrested persons have been identified as G Ramakrishna (40) of Vegaing village in Andhra Pradesh, Kalidas Saha of MV-82 and Sukmar Tarakdar of MPV-65 village in the district. Further investigation is on, said Kalimela forest officials.

All the species are classified as endangered and their capture and transport is punishable under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, sources said.

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