Lucknow: A huge cache of rare turtles stuffed in two bags was discovered by Government Railway Police (GRP) on board the Mumbai-bound Pushpak Express.
The turtles, aged between one-seven years, are of a rare species. They were apparently being smuggled by a wildlife poaching gang, police said Monday.
The 220 turtles were packed in two large bags and were slipped below a berth in the general coach of the Pushpak Express. The GRP guards on a routine check of the coach late Sunday found some movement in the bags. There was no one to claim it.
When they opened the bags they found hundreds of turtles. The bags were confiscated and taken to the GRP police chowki at the Charbagh railway station.
With no one knowing how how to handle the turtles, the GRP communicated the matter to the forest department which arranged for them to be sent to the local forest officer. The turtles are likely to be released in the Ghaghra river, which is a natural habitat for turtles and tortoises in Uttar Pradesh.
As of now, they have been housed in the Sheeshambagh Faridinagar City Range Nursery of the forest department.