Bhubaneswar, Dec 31 (PTI) Forest personnel seized around 1,500 turtles and arrested three persons for illegally transporting the animals in Odishas Malkangiri district today.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of Forest personnel intercepted a van at MPV-65 village under Kalimela forest range area and seized the freshwater turtles, said Divisional Forest Officer (Malkangiri), Samrat Gouda.
Three persons, including one belonging to Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, were arrested for smuggling the animals numbering about 1,500 from the neighbouring state, he said adding that the van bearing Andhra Pradesh registration number was also seized.
The turtles were being sent to traders in Malkangiri for sale as these animals are in high demand in the market, Forest officials said adding the arrested persons were booked under various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and further investigation was on.
The turtles were released at a waterbody nearby.
Earlier, over 350 rare species of turtles, also smuggled from Andhra Pradesh, had been seized in Chitrakonda area of Malkangiri district in June, 2017.