Star tortoises seized (India)

The Hindu
July 23, 2007

Star tortoises seized Chennai, July 23 (PTI): Around 1,000 endangered star tortoises were seized from a Singapore-bound passenger at the airport here, three weeks after Malaysia returned to India hundreds of such smuggled animals.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials seized the tortoises from the passenger who had come to board a Chennai-Singapore Malaysian Airlines flight last night, airport sources said. The passenger, whose identity was not revealed, was searched and arrested following a tip-off, they said.

The seized tortoises will be handed over to Forest Department officials.
Earlier this month, more than 300 star tortoises, seized by Malaysian authorities from a passenger from Chennai, were returned to India.

They are being frequently smuggled as there is a huge demand in the South-East, especially for their reported medicinal properties.

Star Tortoise has been classified as a scheduled animal under Schedule 4 of the Wildlife Protection Act of India. Breeding and transport of this species is an offence under the Act.

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