800 turtles recovered

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Lucknow, Feb 29: Over 800 turtles were rescued by a team of forest department and police from UP’s Mainpuri district, which has seen a rise in cases of smuggling of the reptiles.

Joint teams of Forest Department and Police rescued 810 turtles Saturday, Divisional Forest officer Manish Singh said.

On the basis of a tip off, the departments rescued the turtles but the smugglers managed to escape.

However, they have been identified and an FIR has been lodged against the three in this regard, he said.

The cost of these turtles in the local market is more than 25 lakhs.

“This is the biggest success till date. Dharmendra is the main person, involved in the turtle smuggling,” he said.

Last week, 605 softshell turtles were rescued from Mainpuri district.

In November last, 20 turtles were rescued while in December 124 turtles were rescued. Last month 50 turtles were rescued.

 On February 3, a truck containing more than 3000 turtles was seized in Dumka Forest Division in Jharkhand. The truck was carrying turtles from Mainpuri.

There is huge demand of turtles in South East Asian countries.

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