Lucknow: A poacher was arrested with 80 tortoises in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, police said Saturday.
Tufani, 30, was nabbed late Friday from the Surapur area, about 150 km from Lucknow, but his accomplice managed to escape during the police operation.
"The man, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, has admitted that he was working for a West Bengal-based gang involved in illegal supply of tortoises, animal antlers and hides to their clients in various states," police inspector Basudev Rana told reporters Saturday in Sultanpur.
"We are yet to ascertain the place from where the tortoises were purchased. He is giving contradictory statements in this regard," he added.
According to police, Tufani was involved in wild-life racket for the nearly last four years.
Most of the tortoises seized were alive. They were later handed over to the officials of forest department.
A case under section 9 (prohibition of hunting) and section 49B (prohibition of animal trading) of the Wildlife Protection Act has been filed against Tufani.
India banned the trade in tortoises under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, but huge profits and lax implementation of laws are increasingly luring poachers to the trade.
Tortoises are killed for their meat and use in preparation of some medicines, officials said.