Over 400 Indian star tortoises seized from Vijaywada; from two women passengers
In a major sweep, sleuths of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized as many as 406 alive Indian star tortoises from two women passengers at Vijayawada railway station.
The seizure came about on Tuesday morning.
The women were allegedly trying to smuggle the tortoises from Kadiri to Bangladesh via Bhubaneswar.
Based on a tip-off that Indian star tortoises – an endangered species mentioned in Schedule IV of Wild Life Protection Act – 1972- were being illegally transported out of India.
DRI sleuths launched an operation at around 7 in the morning and intercepted the two women passengers travelling in Vivek Express at Vijayawada station.
On searching the four bags belonging to these women, DRI officials found that they were transporting the reptiles and had covered them with clothes and other items.
On questioning, they confessed that the tortoises of different sizes were collected by a person from Kadiri and they were asked to take them to Bhubaneswar and hand it over to some person, who would then export it to Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the tortoises were handed over to the Vijayawada Forest Range Officer for safe custody.
It is believed that the Indian Star Tortoises are being exported to other countries via Bangaldesh and Sri Lanka as they have huge demand in international market.>