Saturday, September 21, 2013

BSF seize 115 endangered tortoises on Bangladesh border

Kolkata, Sep 20 (IANS):

The Border Security Force (BSF) seized 115 endangered tortoises, valued at approximately Rs.25 lakh, which were being smuggled into Bangladesh through West Bengal.

A BSF release said Friday that 72 spotted pond tortoises and 43 narrow headed softshell tortoises were seized from the Tentulberia border near Gaighata in North 24-Parganas district of West Bengal on the night of Sep 19.

"They (BSF personnel) noticed a person going towards Bangladesh with a big haversack and challenged him," said the release issued by the Frontier HQ, BSF, South Bengal.

The smuggler dropped the haversack and fled. The seized tortoises were handed over to the forest officials later.

Spotted pond turtles are protected by Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and are illegally smuggled out to the food markets in China from Bangladesh.

Striped narrow-headed softshell tortoise (Chitrachitra) is one of the largest freshwater tortoise with a carapace reaching up to 122 centimetres.

On Sep 1, the BSF seized 952 Star Tortoise, worth Rs.3.2 crore in international market from same area.

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