Nature and the Environment
in the News

Source: The Times of India
Date: November 6, 2008

Four exotic turtles seized from capital

6 Nov 2008, 1928 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: In its first ever independent operation since its inception last year, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has unearthed an illegal pet


trade racket arresting one and seizing four live Indian Tent turtles from Mahipalpur area here.

The WCCB officials after receiving a tip-off sent a decoy customer to strike a deal. When the alleged trader reached the spot in a car, team of WCCB official comprising Assistant Director B S Gurum, Wildlife Inspectors Arti Singh and B S Khanti nabbed him.

Four exotic live Indian Tent Turtles were also recovered from his possession.

The entire operation, including arrest and seizure, was executed by the WCCB officials on Tuesday. The operation was conducted without taking help from any other agency. However, the accused was kept in the Vasant Kunj police station as the bureau does not have its own lock up space.

"It was not a big haul but an important one as illegal trade of beautiful and small animals as pets is going on, thus adversely affecting the conservation efforts," Deputy Director of WCCB Ramesh Pandey said.

The accused, Rittin Mehrotra, a resident of Dhankot in Gurgaon, Haryana, is allegedly running his pet business for many years. The WCCB officials came to know that some of his pets allegedly included exotic and endangered species which are protected under Indian law.

"A case under various sections of Wildlife Protection Act has been registered by WCCB and the accused has been sent to judicial custody," Pandey said.

Indian Tent turtle are listed in the schedule one of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Being small and having very beautiful shells, they are traded as pets in the country as well as in the International market.