HYDERABAD: An undercover operation by the Telangana State Forest Department’s Vigilance and Anti-Poaching units resulted in the busting of an illegal wildlife trade racket and the arrest of two accused, in Hyderabad on Saturday.
The Forest staff recovered a bag full of baby turtles, numbering 330, of two species — Assam Roofed Turtle and Indian Tent Turtle, as per a press release by the Forest Department. Both the species are protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act.
The accused were arrested at Ramanthapur. The two accused have been identified as Shiva Balak and Rahul Kashyap, both residents of in Lucknow. They confessed to have collected the turtles from Gomti River in Uttar Pradesh and decided to sell them to pet shops selling aquatic species in Hyderabad.
They also confessed that they have been selling the turtles to pet shops for Rs 400 per pair. The Forest department said that many pet shops buy these turtles thinking that they are an exotic species imported from other countries and are not protected under Indian laws.
The two accused have been handed over to the Forest Range Officer in Uppal Range of Medchal District for taking further action. The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau will also be notified about the racket as the accused are from another State.