Second seizure: Customs finds 161 turtles at mumbai airport | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Second seizure: Customs finds 161 turtles at mumbai airport

Days after two suitcases crammed with 183 turtles were seized by the customs department at the city airport, another 161 turtles were recovered on Saturday morning while being smuggled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in two cardboard cartons.

mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2015 01:14 IST
Badri Chatterjee

Days after two suitcases crammed with 183 turtles were seized by the customs department at the city airport, another 161 turtles were
recovered on Saturday morning while being smuggled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in two cardboard cartons.

Customs officials handed over the Spotted Black Terrapin or pond turtles – a fresh-water species – to the wildlife department. “These turtles are from India’s north-east and are quite rare. Such animals are smuggled for aphrodisiac purposes to south-east Asia. This is the third case in a year where we have recovered protected animal species from smugglers at the Mumbai airport,” said Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner of customs. Each turtle is worth anything between Rs10,000 to Rs1,00,000 in the international market.

The accused, who have been identified as Thimmarayappa Jnanamurthy and Ramaswamy Shanmugam, were trying to smuggle the turtles as part of check-in luggage on their departure.

Pravin Patil, range forest officer, anti-poaching and wildlife, Thane, said, “We will be transporting the turtles to Karnala Bird Sanctuary near Panvel after all the paper work is completed at the airport.”