Over 500 rare star tortoises seized at Kurla Terminus, woman arrested
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials on Thursday seized over 500 endangered Indian star tortoises from a woman passenger at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Mumbai.
According to officials, all the 523 seized tortoises were allegedly bound for sale to pet traders in the city.
The accused, who was travelling from Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh to the Kurla Terminus, was apprehended in a joint operation by the city units in association with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the state forest department, the DRI said in a statement.
The 42-year-old was travelling with two children to avoid suspicion but was intercepted based on a tip-off. She was supposed to deliver the tortoises to a man, who allegedly didn’t show up fearing arrest.
As endangered species, the Indian star tortoises are trafficked and smuggled as a part of the exotic pet trade and are highly priced, both in local and international markets.
The turles can fetch around Rs 5,000-10,000 in the domestic market and between Rs 30,000-40,000 abroad. They have been transferred to the forest department for further investigation.