Hyderabad: The state forest department’s vigilance and anti-poaching squads on Saturday caught an inter-state gang of two involved in illegal trade of Assam roofed turtles here.
Based on a reliable information received, a team led by director forest officer M. Raja Ramana Reddy inquired two suspicious persons near Ramanthapur. Upon verification, they recovered 330 live Assam roofed turtles (or Sylhet Roofed Turtle, Pangshura sylhetensis) and Indian tent turtles belonging to the family of Geoemydidae which fall under Schedule-I of Wildlife Act placed in a bag.
The two accused, Shiva Balak and Rahul Kashyap from Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, confessed that the above said turtles were collected from Gomti River by their accomplices. They in turn sent them over to Hyderabad by train for selling them to their prospective buyers–which includes some of the aquarium shops and pet stores in and around Hyderabad.
The turtles were being sold at an amount of Rs 400 per pair. The retail price of the same would be around Rs 800 to Rs 1000, the department said.
In a statement, the forest department also appealed to the aquarium and pet shop owners to be cautious and said these seized turtles come under Schedule I of Wildlife Act, 1972.