As many as 2,247 live Indian star tortoises were rescued by the Chennai Air Cargo when there was an attempt to smuggle them out of the country.
On suspicion that wildlife species may be smuggled, officials checked a consignment addressed to Thailand.
While it was declared that the consignment contained 250 kg of live mud crab, when the officials opened the packages, 10 of them contained 2,247 star tortoises. These are endangered species in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and covered under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, according to a press release.
The tortoises were then handed over to Tamil Nadu Forest Department. It is one of the most prized willdife species in international illegal willdife markets across the world. In India they are found in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha and Telangana and have been suuggled extensively in the last three decades, forest officials said.
Further investigations are on.
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