Baksar (Bihar), July 19 : Railway police has rescued about 40 tortoises from Baksar in Bihar and handed them over to a zoological park in Patna.
The tortoises were found abandoned at the Baksar station in Bihar on Friday. The smugglers were reportedly taking them from Uttar Pradesh to West Bengal.
Police handed over the tortoises to 'Sanjay Gandhi Zoological Park' in Patna. Five tortoises died on their way to the zoo.
After medical examination, tortoises have been left in the zoo lake.
"Railway police handed over the tortoises yesterday. And they were rescued from the Baksar station. These were found abandoned at the station and were brought here after three days. About 40 tortoises were rescued, out of which five died on its way. We have released 35 tortoises in the lake," said Subash Verma, Deputy Director, Patna Zoo.
Sanjay Gandhi Zoo currently houses 400 tortoises, most of them rescued by the police from different regions of Bihar. Zoo authorities claim that it is the only rescue centre of tortoises in Bihar.
The tortoises are in great demand as exotic pets. India has banned the trade of tortoises under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act but the huge premium and lax laws are increasingly luring poachers to the trade.
The rare species are land-dwelling and feed on succulent materials. Most of them are found in semi-arid zones in the southern and north-western parts of India.