20:52 GMT +321 September 2017
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    Indian flapshell turtle

    Indian Police Busts East Asian Turtle Smuggling Racket

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    Indian police claim one of the biggest catches of turtles in the country’s wildlife history was destined for the kitchen and shop shelves of at least 6 East Asian countries.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — In the biggest seizure of its kind, a special police force in India has recovered 6,434 Indian flapshell turtles from poachers. The turtles were stuffed into 140 jute bags in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The rescued turtles are listed as endangered species in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List.

    The alleged kingpin Raj Bahadur Singh was arrested by a special task force of UP police. "We have recovered a huge amount of turtles from one single location. We are investigating this further and looking at the involvement of more people, especially smuggling rings," said Arvind Chaturvedi, leader of special task force.

    During interrogation, Singh disclosed that the packed turtles were being transported to Kolkata port for onward transit to Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries.

    Turtles are consumed for their high calcium content as well as kept as pets by Feng Shui aficionados. A turtle with all 20 nails — 5 on each of the 4 legs — is believed to be a good luck charm under Feng Shui traditions.

     

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