Another bid to smuggle Indian star tortoises foiled

This is the second such incident in 3 days

Three days after 170 Indian star tortoises were found abandoned in two bags at a bus station, the Kalasipalya police on Tuesday recovered another 401 of the threatened species from a man who was hoping to smuggle them to Chennai. However, by the time the police intervened, 21 tortoises had died and another 20 were in serious condition.

The accused, Muthu Hamad Meera, was caught red-handed on Monday evening while he was trying to board a private bus to Chennai. Acting on a tip-off, the Kalasipalya police intercepted him and took him into custody.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP-West) Sanjeev Patil, the tortoises had been packed into two boxes. The police obtained court permission and handed over the tortoises to the Bannerghatta Biological Park for rehabilitation. Measures are being taken to save those that are in a critical condition.

“The accused has been taken into custody to ascertain where he sourced the tortoises from. We suspect that he is part of a bigger racket and efforts are on to track down others involved in it,” said the police.

On Saturday, staff of a private transport company rescued 170 star tortoises that they found stuffed in two bags as they were weighing luggage for a Chennai-bound bus. The two persons who had abandoned the bags escaped before the police reached the spot.

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