Over 2200 live, endangered tortoises rescued from Thailand-bound cargo

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai  Published: Aug 17, 2021, 08:24 PM(IST)

Found in scrub jungles across many states in India, these tortoises end up in East Asian countries as exotic pets, delicacies in restaurants. Photograph:( WION )

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As per the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix 1, these tortoises are an endangered species and are covered under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

Based on intelligence, Air Cargo Customs officials in the city intercepted an export consignment that was destined for Thailand. As per the shipping bill, the cargo was meant to contain 250kgs of live mud crab. However, officials at the Air Cargo export shed opened and examined all the boxes.

According to senior officials, 10 of the 15 packages contained live Indian star tortoises, an endangered species. A total of 2,247 tortoises were handed over to the Tamil Nadu Forest department for rehabilitation. 

As per the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix 1, these tortoises are an endangered species and are covered under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

Found in scrub jungles across many states in India, these tortoises end up in East Asian countries as exotic pets, delicacies in restaurants, are used for making traditional medicine, kept at homes as a lucky charm etc. While the local villagers catch them in India for a petty sum, they are smuggled out and sold at a hefty price abroad.

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