An undercover operation by Odisha Forest Department officials busted an illegal wildlife trade racket in Malkangiri on Saturday.
The forest staff recovered as many as 139 live turtles from a Tata magic car during the raid. Turtles, an endangered species are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. The vehicle used for the transportation of the turtles has also been seized.
Source said, the turtles were carried from Odisha to Andhra Pradesh.
As per reports, the wildlife smugglers resorted to a novel way to carry the turtles in the lower chamber of the vehicle while concealing the upper chamber with loads of eggs.
Acting on reliable information, the forest officials raided the vehicle on the way and rescued the live turtles after thorough inspection.
“The wildlife criminals had designed the car in such a way that the turtles could be hid in the lower chamber as they had loaded the upper chamber with other goods. However, we had reliable information and based on it we raided the vehicle and rescued the turtles,” said Rashmiranjan Swain, a forest official.
(Edited by Suryakant Jena)