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Mumbai: Man held for selling protected turtles in Crawford Market

According to Aditya Patil of WWA they along with members of SARRP had alerted WCCB about the tip off on person selling Indian roof turtles, which are protected species and a joint raid was decided.

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Mumbai: Man held for selling protected turtles in Crawford Market
Turtles recovered
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Even as authorities have been claiming that there are no pet-trade involving protected Indian species carried out from Crawford Market, a recent raid on Friday where 20 Indian Roof turtles were seized, seems to narrate a different story.

The joint raid was co-ordinated by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Wildlife Wing of Forest department and carried out by Wildlife Welfare Association (WWA) and Spreading Awareness on Reptiles and Rehabilitation Programme (SARRP) and led to the arrest of a 29 year old Bilal Shaikh.

According to Aditya Patil of WWA they along with members of SARRP had alerted WCCB about the tip off on person selling Indian roof turtles, which are protected species and a joint raid was decided. Eight members from both NGO's reached Crawford Market on Friday noon and found that the Shaikh had arrived with a plastic bag stuffed with the turtles. "A dummy customer was sent to him who confirmed the contents, however since WCCB officials were still on their way we did not want the accused to feel suspicious so we snatched the bag and took him to MRA police station," said Patil adding that soon officials from WCCB and Wildlife wing arrived and the cops handed the accused in their custody.

Yuvraj Gite, range forest officer, Wildlife Wing said they found several videos and photographs of Star turtles in the mobile phone of the accused. "The accused took us to a house from where we seized a parakeet. We have managed to get his custody for two days from the court and will continue to interrogate him,"he said.

Meanwhile Sunish Kunju, Wildlife Warden for Mumbai City and Founder of PAWS-Mumbai said, "Forest department and BMC needs to jointly decide a strategy to stop this trade across the markets like Crawford and Kurla."

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