2,000 star tortoises rescued, two held for smuggling
in Mumbai

August 24, 2007

Mumbai, Aug 24 (PTI) Over 2,000 endangered star tortoises were rescued while being illegally smuggled to Malaysia by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) today.
Two Chennai-based persons, who checked-in to board a flight to Kaula Lampur with the tortoises worth over Rs 80 lakh carefully hidden in their baggage, were arrested.

"We rescued 2,016 star tortoises which are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and arrested two persons for trying to smuggle out the animals," said a senior DRI official.

The arrested duo were identified as Samsudheen Kamal Basha and Yusuf Mohammed Moideen.

The tortoises were sourced from coastal areas in Tamil Nadu and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and were being sent through Mumbai as the smugglers felt there was little checking at the airport here, the official said.

The tortoises fetch a good price in Malaysia. PTI
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