As many as 204 Indian softshell terrapin turtles being smuggled to Odisha were rescued on Saturday from a forested area near Mullimetta under Chintapalle forest range here, Andhra Pradesh forest department officials said.
The smugglers, however, escaped, the officials added.
The team found 220 turtles wrapped in a cloth. Of them, 16 turtles were dead, they said.
The rescued turtles were taken to Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam, said Chintapalle forest range officer B Ramnaresh.
For the first time, turtles have been seized in this area, he said.
The turtles were to be smuggled to Odisha, where there is a demand for their meat for purported medicinal value, the forest officer said.
The rescued turtles are of various sizes, weighing between 200 gm and 1.5 kg. Probe to identify the smugglers is on.