Patna, Dec 18: A man was arrested in Bihar for smuggling nearly 1,100 tortoises from Gaya district, a police officer said Wednesday.
“Seventeen sacks full of tortoises were seized from a Scorpio at GT Road near Amas police station late Tuesday,” Gaya Superintendent of Police Nishant Kumar Tiwari said.
“Local villagers informed police of foul smell coming out from the vehicle parked at the roadside after it developed some technical problem,” he added.
Police officer Dhanajay Kumar said the tortoises were being smuggled from Sasaram, district headquarters of Rohtas, to Kolkata.
Kumar said: “The arrested driver claimed he is a native of West Bengal’s Nadia district and he was to hand over the tortoises to a man in Howrah.”
District forest officer Neshmani said the tortoises are first smuggled to Kolkata and then to Mayanmar.
“The demand for tortoises is high in international market for its meat and they are also used in preparation of some medicines,” he said.
India has banned the trade in turtles under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, but the huge premium and lax implementation of laws are increasingly luring smugglers to the illegal trade.