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Howrah: A well-coordinated drive by Bengal and Central government agencies has led to the rescue of as many as 3,000 endangered turtles while being smuggled to Bangladesh.

The turtles were being smuggled from Odisha to Bangladesh by road via Bongaon border in North 24-Parganas district in Bengal. However, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of the Centre got a tip-off this.

Soon, the West Bengal CID, forest department, and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau formed a team and swung into action. They started a thorough check on every passing lorry at Dhulagarh Check-post in Howrah.

In the course of this, the team came across a lorry carrying fish from Odisha. On taking down a few fish cartons, they found plastic crates towards the bottom loaded with the endangered Indian Softshell Turtles. There were some 3,000 of them weighing 300 gram to 3 kg.

The team at once arrested the driver and the conductor and confiscated the lorry. The rescued turtles have for now been sheltered at the Bidhannagar Deer Park at Salt Lake in Kolkata. They will be released back to their habitats in Odisha following due procedures.