Wednesday, January 11, 2023

171 star tortoises seized at Chennai airport, investigation on

Chennai: The directorate of revenue intelligence on Monday night seized at the Chennai airport 171 star tortoises that were being smuggled to Thailand. The DRI sleuths did not just catch the carrier but also nabbed two others who were outside the airport and had been handed over the bag with the reptiles in it.The carrier who is from Perambur is 45 years old. The other two men arrested are from Mannady. One of them is a repeat offender as he was caught a few years ago for bringing in exotic animals from Thailand. The two are employees of a pet shop in Kolathur.

An official said that the investigations were going on and they would soon catch all those involved in the crime. The three accused were booked under Section 113 of the Customs Act and Section 113 of the Wildlife Protection Aact as star tortoises are protected under Schedule I, and the CITES Aact as the reptiles are under Appendix 1.

They have been remanded in custody. The DRI is working along with the state wildlife crime control bureau and the central wildlife crime control bureau officials on various cases to stop the illegal exotic pet trade.

An official said that usually, tortoises go undetected in security checks as they are tightly packed and each is tied in a cloth.

Srinivas Reddy, chief wildlife warden of Tamil Nadu forest department, told TOI that the seized star tortoises were handed to the wildlife warden of Chennai. "They are kept in a separate enclosure inside the chhildren's park at Guindy.

11/01/23 Komal Gautham/Times of India

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