During the intensive checking, the Forest Department and Seoni Police have confiscated 6 tortoises of endangered Sulcata species found only in Sahara desert of Africa.
Accused were taking these tortoises to Mumbai via Kolkata. These vegetarian tortoises are the third biggest tortoises of the world and weigh up to 105 k.g.
Keeping in view the security, the seized tortoises have been kept in Van Vihar.
It is to be highlighted that the case was handed over to the State level Strike Force of the Forest Department, taking into consideration the important successes achieved by it in various states in connection to the tortoise smuggling.
During the interrogation, both the accused said that the Sulcata tortoise belongs to the endemic species of Sahara Desert, which is found in Sahara Desert only in the entire world.
The tortoises found in Chad, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia and other countries of Africa are
being smuggled from Africa via Bangladesh route to India. As these are endangered species, the trade of this tortoise comes under the category of crime under the CITS rules.
Keeping in view the technical aspects of the case, the case has been transferred to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. The DRI has initiated action by registering the case under the Custom Act-1962.>