398 Live Tortoises Rescued, 4 Smugglers Arrested in Odisha’s Malkangiri

Malkangiri: In a major bust against wildlife trafficking, a vigilant team of police intercepted a mini-truck at a check gate near Motu, in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, seizing a staggering 398 live tortoises and apprehending four individuals involved in the illegal transportation.

Acting on a tip-off and conducting routine checks, the officers unearthed the illicit cargo – 22 large sacks crammed with the vulnerable reptiles – concealed within the vehicle. The swift action prevented the endangered tortoises from reaching their unknown destination.

Police are currently interrogating the detainees to gather more information. The seized vehicle is also in police custody. The motive behind the smuggling operation is under investigation, and Motu police have initiated a thorough probe to identify any other potential accomplices.

The live tortoises, valued in Malkangiri markets at Rs 400 to Rs 500 per kilogram, were handed over to the Forest department. The illicit trade route typically involves smuggling the reptiles from Kakinada in Andhra to Malkangiri district, according to Motu police station IIC Laxmidhar Lenka.

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