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DRI lands hard punch on illicit wildlife trade; 955 live Gangetic Turtles rescued, 6 persons apprehended

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, OCT 03, 2023: THE Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) apprehended 6 persons with 955 live baby Gangetic turtles of different species at Nagpur, Bhopal and Chennai yesterday.

Intelligence was developed by the officers of DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) about a syndicate involved in illegal trafficking and trading of ‘'Turtles of Ganges'', some of which are specified as vulnerable/ near threatened species under IUCN Red List and Schedule I and II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Illegal trade and habitat degradation are major threats to these species.

The Officers of DRI chalked out an intricate all-India plan to apprehend the offenders at different locations in the country simultaneously and rescue the turtles.

Concerted all-India efforts by the officers resulted in interception of a total of 6 persons and a total recovery of 955 live baby turtles of different species at Nagpur, Bhopal and Chennai on 30.09.2023. The species of Gangetic turtles rescued are Indian Tent Turtle, Indian Flapshell Turtle, Crown River Turtle, Black spotted/Pond Turtle and Brown Roofed Turtle.

After the initial seizure under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the perpetrators and Gangetic turtles were handed over to the respective Forest Departments for further investigation.

The operation comes in a series of other such crackdowns over the past months, as DRI continues its resolve to preserve the environment and combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Some of the species rescued are specified as vulnerable/near threatened species under IUCN Red List and Schedule I and II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Illegal trade, over exploitation for meat and habitat degradation are major threats to the survival of these species.