97 Indian Flapshell Turtles Were Being Smuggled To West Bengal, But Railway Police Caught Them
Officials said on Monday that 97 endangered Indian flapshell turtles, colloquially referred to as "Sundari turtles," had been confiscated by the Government Railway Police (GRP) while being transported from Azamgarh to West Bengal. The GRP officers said that the seizure took place on Sunday at a platform of the Ballia railway station and that three persons — two from West Bengal and one from UP — were detained in connection with it.
According to GRP Inspector VK Singh, some individuals kept the Sundari turtles in a bag and attempted to escape the scene when the police arrived.
Baki Mandal and Mahendra Pratap Shah from West Bengal and Hemant from the Ambedkarnagar area of Uttar Pradesh were among those detained.
The group admitted to authorities upon questioning that they were transporting the package from Azamgarh to West Bengal.
The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 provides protection for the species. Indian flapshell turtles are classified as "threatened" on the Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In West Bengal and other regions, they are allegedly trafficked for their flesh under the pretence that doing so enhances sexual prowess.