Endangered wild turtles recovered from train in Assam
Two Mizoram residents, Lalchhuanlina and Liansanspui, were carrying the turtles in boxes and claimed they had the permission to do so
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Assam’s Criminal Investigation Bureau late on Monday rescued 74 endangered wild turtles from Sealdah-Agartala Kanchanjunga Express.
Officials said the turtles were recovered from boxes kept under the seats at Assam’s Lumding Railway Station following a specific information. “We were informed that smugglers were transporting the turtles on the Kanchanjunga Express from Agartala...we searched the coaches when the train reached the Lumding station,” said an official.
Two Mizoram residents, Lalchhuanlina and Liansanspui, who were carrying the boxes, claimed they had permission to transport the turtles. “They claimed this was not illegal and they paid the railways for carrying the boxes. They failed to show adequate documents and we detained them,” the official said.
The turtles were handed over to forest officials, who identified them as endangered. “Most of these turtles are adult and they are sold at high prices in illegal markets,” the official said.
A case was later lodged under the Wildlife Protection Act and Lalchhuanlina and Liansanspui were arrested. The two were being interrogated and were to be produced in a district court.
Police said the smugglers boarded the train in Karimganj and were suspected to have travelled from Mizoram. The forest department was investigating the matter and the turtles were sent to Assam State Zoo in Guwahati.
On Sunday, five Mizoram residents were arrested in Assam’s Cachar district for allegedly smuggling exotic animals from Myanmar.