Lucknow, Jan 17 (Agencies): The police arrested two poachers with around 900 tortoises in Ambedkar Nagar, around 200 km from Lucknow on Sunday.

The two poachers, aged around 30 years, were nabbed from Ibrahimpur area and sacks full of tortoises seized from their Tata Sumo.

"Of the two men arrested, one is from West Bengal while the other belongs to Uttar Pradesh. Preliminary investigations indicate that the two were supposed to hand over the tortoises to their clients in West Bengal," police inspector R.S. Verma said.

"We are yet to ascertain the place where from the two brought the tortoises. They are giving contradictory statements in this regard," he added.

According to police, most of the tortoises recovered from the duo's possession were alive.

"They have been handed over to the forest officials," said Verma.

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.

“Tortoises are killed for their meat and are used in the preparation of some medicines,” officials said.