KATHMANDU, June 17: Authorities on Thursday seized 109 tortoises and 162 birds of various species from a house in Ranibari, Kathmandu.
A joint operation carried out by a team from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police and rescue officers deployed from the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) confiscated those reptiles and birds from Anil Shahi's house at Dakhsikalimarg of Ranibari.
The rescue team also arrested Mohammad Usman of Patna, India, who has rented a room in Shahi's home. "We have rescued 109 tortoises and 162 birds from Usman's room and arrested him for further investigation," Bishwanath Rijal, a rescue officer at NTNC, said. Out of the 162 birds three are parrots, he said.
All the rescued tortoises and birds have already been handed over to the officials at the Central Zoo at Jawalakhel.
Rijal informed that the joint team of the CIB and the NTNC also recovered 274 cages and boxes that Usman might have used to keep the reptiles and birds. According to the officials, this is the third time Usman has been arrested on the charge of smuggling reptiles and birds.
According to rescue officer Rijal, the tortoises and birds were smuggled from India mostly for supply to China and Vietnam. "All the rescued tortoises are giant tortoises," he said adding that those animals were smuggled for the table.
The joint team of CIB and NTNC had also rescued a large number of tortoises and birds from Pepsicola area of Kathmandu some two weeks ago.