BSF nabs Bangladeshi immigrant with 296 smuggled star turtles

by IANS |

Kolkata, Dec 8 (IANS) The jawans of 5th battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF) have nabbed an illegal Bangladeshi immigrant and rescued as many as 296 endangered species of star turtles from his possession at the Indo-Bangladesh international borders in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, sources informed on Friday.

The arrested person has been identified as Rafiqul Sheikh (36), a resident of Jessore district in Bangladesh.

He was nabbed on Thursday night by the BSF jawans while trying to cross the tarnation borders from Bangladesh and coming to the Indian side by crossing the Ichamati river.

The star turtles were recovered from the three bags that he was carrying. The arrested person had been handed over to the cops of the local Gaighata Police Station and rescued star turtles to the state forest department.

A state forest department official said that smuggling of rare animal species had been a new trend witnessed in cross- border smuggling along the Indo-Bangladesh in different bordering districts in the state.

In October, the sleuths of the state forest department rescued three smuggled Tokay Geckos from Siliguri in North Bengal. Tokay Geckos were included in Schedule IV of India's Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 in 2014, which prohibits the poaching and illegal trade of listed species.

As per records of the state forest department, Siliguri corridor acting as an important gateway for West Bengal to both northeastern as well as to neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan has become a critical hub for smuggling rare animal species.

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