Maha: Two held for trafficking iguanas, tortoises

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Pune, May 26 (PTI) Two persons have been detained by the Government Railway Police (GRP) for allegedly trafficking iguanas, tortoises, and fish in a large quantity by a train at Lonavala railway station in Maharashtra, police said on Wednesday.

At least 1,207 iguanas, 279 African Spurred Tortoise, and 230 Betta fish- all exotic species- were found in the possession of the two passengers who were traveling from Chennai to Mumbai in Chennai-LTT Express on Tuesday.

'The confiscated species and two carriers have been handed over to the Customs and they will take further action,' said Maula Sayyad, police inspector, Local Crime Branch of GRP.

The detained passengers are identified as Tarunkumar Mohan (26) and Srinivasan Kamal (20).

'The duo was traveling with four large travel bags, which aroused suspicion. When the policemen opened the bags they found iguanas, tortoises, and fish inside. During their interrogation, the two passengers told the patrolling staff that they were just carriers who were taking the species to Mumbai from Chennai,' he said.

The officer added that the duo was not carrying any valid documents or a permit to transport these species.

'During the consultation with wildlife experts, forest officials, and members of RESQ Charitable Trust, it was found that all these animals were exotic species. We are confirming whether they are just carriers or the owners of these species.

While iguanas were kept in plastic bags, the tortoises were kept in boxes and fish in small pouches. PTI SPK NSK NSK

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