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Twenty-three rare tortoises seized in New Delhi

      New Delhi: Police seized 23 rare tortoises in New Delhi on Tuesday and arrested three persons involved in the smuggling. The rare tortoises of "Indian Tent" group were recovered in a raid at the premises of the trio, who were selling them for a premium. "As per information we have arrested three people from a bus terminal who were selling tortoises. We have seized 23 tortoises in all which are a rare species of tortoises. Three people Shabbir, Nadim and Sageer, all local residents, have been booked under the Wildlife Act of 1972. Investigations are on," said Devesh Chandra Srivastva, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Delhi (North East). "I bought 19 turtles for rupees 100 (2.2 dollars) and was going to sell them, but the police caught me," said Shabbir. There is a huge demand for these rare species of tortoises, having distinct star marks on their shells, in the international market. They are used as pets and serve as a delicacy in the west. Trade of tortoises is banned under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act but the huge premium and lax laws are increasingly luring poachers to the trade.
- Nov 14, 2006

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