IN A major drive against illegal sale of endangered species the forest department seized 44 turtles and 64 parakeets from Shivaji Market on Friday.
Seven persons have been arrested and charged with violation of Wildlife Act and will face imprisonment as the law is very strict in this regard and the offence is non-bailable.
Interestingly, this open market located right in front of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) has been there for years and none of the responsible authorities ever thought twice while passing before it.
District Forest Officer (DFO) BS Annageri denying laxity on part of forest department said that such raids are mostly carried out on receipt of specific information, while routine checks and other recce activities are carried out from time to time.
He pointed out that only a few species were on the scheduled list, while others can be legally kept and sold. The shops selling sea and fresh water fishes were not touched in this drive as the forest rules are not clear on keeping them in aquariums in homes.
Annageri said that he had received information in this regard two-days back and gone incognito posing as a customer. To his horror he discovered that those engaged in this trade are unaware of their engaging in illegal act, violating rules and show no fear of the law. Most birds and animals were kept in small cages spilling out on to the street.
The drive was carried out by using a large number of forest staff headed by rangers AK Raghuvanshi and KP Sharma so that none involved in this illegal trade could flee from the spot.
44 species of turtles including the endangered spotted and button turtles brought from as far as Kolkata and 64 Alexandrine rose beaked parakeets were seized from seven shops.