Kolkata: More than 90 rare species of 'black spotted' turtle, widely smuggled for their meat, were today seized by the BSF when they were being illegally sneaked into West Bengal through Indo-Bangladesh border.
The seized consignment is estimated to be over Rs 58 lakh in the black market.
Border Security Force troops intercepted a smuggler carrying the turtles in a gunny bag, based on intelligence inputs in Kalanchi border post area in South Bengal sector manned by them in the noon Wednesday.
"On being challenged, the lone smuggler fled into the jungles. The turtles are smuggled for their meat across the border. The estimated value of the catch is about Rs 58.20 lakh," a senior officer said.
The Indian black spotted turtle is a medium-sized freshwater turtle from South-Asia. Despite its common name, the colour of these attractive turtles vary hugely, with the rigid upper shell or 'carapace' ranging from reddish to dark brown or black, often with three yellowish ridges running along its length.
The underside or 'plastron' is brown coloured with a light trim around the edge.
These turtles are also known as Bengal black turtle, black pond turtle, Burmese black turtle, Cochin black turtle, Parker's black turtle, Sri Lanka black turtle and they are threatened by hunting for its meat, which in many areas is considered a delicacy and also for pet trade exploitation.
The seized turtles have being handed over to Customs office Bongaon and they will later be given to Forest department authorities who are empowered under the law to register a case against the smugglers.