In yet another shocking case of animal trafficking, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Mumbai, in a joint operation with Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and forest department have seized about 523 star tortoises from a train passenger at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Railway station.

According to a report from India Today, the lady accused who was travelling from Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh to Kurla Terminus has been detained. It is suspected that the tortoises were to be sold to a pet trader in Mumbai. The tortoises have been identified as the Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), a vulnerable species and included in Appendix II of the CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species).

Highly priced, both in local and international markets, the Indian star tortoises are trafficked and smuggled as a part of the exotic pet trade. The animals have been transferred to the forest department for further investigation. An appeal has been sent to the wildlife department to ensure that the tortoises are rehabilitated in their natural habitat at the earliest.

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