Mon, February 09, 2009
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3000 Indian turtles saved by tip off

2009-02-09 10:22:54 GMT2009-02-09 18:22:54 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Indian forestry officials have seized 3000 turtles allegedly meant for smuggling across the border from eastern Gaya.

The illegal consignment was being taken by a four-wheeled drive vehicle to neighbouring West Bengal. Forest department officials swooped after received a tip-off. The turtles are taken from picked from rivers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and sent to West Bengal to be eaten.

SCRIPT:

They're alive thanks to a tip off.

Three thousand turtles were discovered after Indian forestry officials were given details of a vehicle being used by smugglers.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MOHAMMAD AFRAR, FOREST RANGER, SAYING:

"A spy was sent to Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh where the turtles were loaded. We got information about the vehicle at three in the morning."

The turtles are thought to have been taken from rivers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

They're were destined for West Bengal where they're slaughtered for their meat and used in traditional medicines.

The trade is illegal in India.

Turtles are a protected species and police say the man they've arrested could now face a hefty sentence.

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