Sunday, 5 December, 2021
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Rare golden tortoise seized, two arrested



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By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Nov. 25: The Armed Police Force Nepal arrested two persons including a rare golden tortoise in Kathmandu on November 19.
A team deployed from the Armed Police Force Nepal (APF) No. 9 Pashupatinath Brigade Headquarters in Kathmandu arrested Sanju Tamang, 50, of Tokha and Ambir Rai, 24, of Sotang Rural Municipality-1 of Solukhumbu from Grande Hospital, Tokha.

Both of them were handed over to the police post in Tokha immediately after their arrest.
The seized golden tortoise is considered rare in the world.
The golden tortoise was found in the forest of Dhanusha two years ago. It has not been found in Nepal since then, said police.

The Armed Police Force (APF) arrested Tamang and Rai on the basis of information that they were trying to sell the rare golden tortoise.
Shivaram Thapa, an information officer at the Division Forest Office in Kathmandu, said it was not known where they found the turtle, and an investigation was underway.

"Initial investigations have revealed that they have raised the tortoise at home. Additional statements are being taken,” Thapa said. He said that the tortoise was sent to forensic laboratory to Khumaltar to verify whether the tortoise was a species included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
It has been revealed that Tamang and Rai are identified as general wage earners in Kathmandu. This is not the first case of smuggling of turtles in Nepal. Earlier, the police had seized 109 tortoises from an Indian citizen Mohammad Uswan on June 17, 2016.

Uswan was arrested by the police from the Dakshinkali temple premises at Ranibari in Kathmandu. Apart from this, smugglers including turtles have been seized.
Police claimed that Nepal has become a transit point due to the open and porous border with India
According to a police officer at the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), wildlife smuggling found in Nepal is mostly exported to China.

The CIB has set up Pillar No. 4 to check wildlife poaching and smuggling. The pillar has seized 225 kg of scales of Chinese pangolins, seven pieces of their skin and four living pangolins in the last nine years since 2013.
The CIB had also recovered nine pieces of tiger skin, 55 kg of bones, 52 pieces of leopard skin, 21 kg of its bones, 10 pieces of skin of clouded leopards, 45 pieces of its teeth, 6 kg of bones and 1 piece of snow leopard.
Similarly, 20 horns of rhinos and 13 hooves were recovered during the period.

Police data shows that tiger, leopard skin and rhino horn are among the top picks for smugglers.
Legal provision
There is a provision to take action against the poachers and smugglers of wild animals in accordance with the National Parks and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 2016 and CITES Convention.
There is a legal provision for a fine of Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 1 million or imprisonment for five to 15 years and both.