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Birds, turtles and rare corals used for black magic seized in Vadodara

Rare corals, sea shells, conchs, birds and animals were seized in two raids conducted by the Gujarat Forest Department

The Gujarat Forest Department in collaboration with the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Wildlife SOS conducted two major raids, recovering two turtles, rare corals, body parts of animals, and several birds. The seizures took place in Vadodara city and Karnali area of the State located 30 kilometres from Vadodara.

In the first raid a total of 68 Black corals, 15 Monitor lizard genitals, 31 Siyar singhi (believed to be jackal horns), two live Softshell turtles and 71 sea shells and conchs were seized from four shops. These shops are located on the premises of Kuber Bhandari temple – a popular pilgrimage site.

Two live soft shelled tortoise
Two live soft shelled tortoise recovered during the raid

The recovered animals and objects are used in black magic rituals, to ward off evil and for sustaining irrational beliefs and superstitions. Corals for example are supposed to bring in good fortune.

These shops are allowed in the premises to sell temple offerings but instead worked as a cover for marine wildlife and other contraband trade. Alerted by the NGO, a team of Forest Department nabbed the perpetrators after an undercover operation.

Talking about this operation, Raj Bhavsar, President of GSPCA said: “The four culprits have been arrested and based on initial investigation, we believe the traffickers have smuggled the wild animals from Saurashtra.”

The other raid spread across the Vadodara city saw the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team seize 15 captive parakeets, including nine Alexandrine parakeets and six Rose-ringed parakeets.

Rose Ringed Parakeet
Among the parakeets, the Rose-ringed is the most traded

Sharing details about these birds, Kartick Satyanarayan, Wildlife SOS CEO said: “Possession and trade of native wildlife species are illegal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Of the 12 native species of parakeets, the Rose-ringed and Alexandrine parakeets are two of the three most traded birds in the country, the third one being the Plum-headed parakeet. Parakeets are social animals and keeping them in a caged environment can negatively affect their physical and psychological health.”