The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) rescued six live turtles of an endangered species near Chetna College in Bandra. Acting on a tip, the officials observed a man since Wednesday evening and finally intercepted the 24-year-old, rescuing the live specimens of Indian Star Tortoises that were being carried in a bag.
The Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is listed in Schedule-IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The turtles are in demand because they are considered to bring good luck, though it is debated.
“Trade, possession, transport, sale or offer for sale of an animal species listed in Schedule-IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 attracts an imprisonment for three years,” said M Maranko, regional deputy director, WCCB who led the drive.
The accused identified as Soham Kale, and the seized specimens of Star Tortoises were produced before the Bandra Court yesterday. He has been remanded to judicial custody till May 26. The turtles are right now in Belapur, the main office of WCCB. Next week, they will be shifted to Karnala bird sanctuary.
May 2: Thane Forest Department rescued seven Indian Star Turtles, which were abandoned at Panchpakadi
May 3: Kalpesh Eknath Pate, 17 of Plant and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS - Mumbai) rescued six Indian Star Turtles from a person in Versova.
“They are now being taken care by PAWS-Mumbai till we receive permit from the Forest Department to transport them to the Rehabilitation Centre,” said Sunish Subramanian Kunju, founder and secretary, PAWS-Mumbai.