“Besides using it for meat, tortoises are also being smuggled to Bangladesh and Thailand for manufacturing traditional medicine used for enlargement of sex organs
as well as increasing sex power in male and female both”, said a Wildlife expert.
At least 195 dead tortoises were recovered by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Dhanbad from a Kolkata-bound train, kept in jute bags. The RPF team led by Inspector KN Singh recovered the dead tortoises from Agra – Kolkata (13168) Express at Dhanbad Junction, which was later handed over to the forest department officials, informed a railway official.
“The animals were kept in jute bags, recovered form S2 coach of Agra – Kolkata (13168) Express after getting a complaint of foul smell, which was being smuggled to West Bengal,” added the official. However, no one has been arrested in this connection as the wildlife smuggler managed to escape, said the official.
The tortoises were being smuggled to West Bengal from several districts of UP regularly in a big way and RPF have recovered many consignments during past few months, sources said. People are smuggling it for their meat and medicinal value. Though it is mainly smuggled for its meat consumption in Bengal and Bangladesh, besides being exported to Thailand, where its soup is popular, said Ravi Verma a Wildlife expert and a resident of Dhanbad.
“Besides using it for meat, tortoises are also being smuggled to Bangladesh and Thailand for manufacturing traditional medicine used for enlargement of sex organs as well as increasing sex power in male and female both”, Verma added.
“Trade of such creatures is prohibited according to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, since it used to be sold for Rs 12,000 to 15,000 per kgs” he added. Last month RPF Dhanbad sized 141 live tortoise form the S9 boggy of Doon Express, which were being smuggled to West Bengal. The RPF also arrested a wildlife smuggler Vishwa Bishwas, a resident of Kolkata in this connection.
During interrogation, Biswas confessed of procuring the tortoises from nomadic people at Jonpur in UP, said an RPF official. “After completing the required legal procedures, we have handed over the recovered tortoises to the forest department authorities so that they could be kept alive”, he added.