In a major bust, 1125 star tortoises that were being smuggled to Bangladesh by three passengers, were seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at the Vizag railway station.
Acting on the intelligent reports received, the DRI carried out a search operation on the Yashvantpur-Howrah Express on Saturday evening. As per the reports, the officials found three passengers in coach S7 illegally transporting the tortoises stuffed in cloth bags.
#AndhraPradesh: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested Three people who were illegally transporting Indian Star Tortoises from Vizag railway station yesterday. 1125 Indian Star Tortoises have been recovered. Further investigation is underway. pic.twitter.com/Na5eL4Rus6
— ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2018
“The three passengers have admitted that they were given the tortoises by a person at Chelur near Balegowdanahalli village in Karnataka saying that he had collected the species from Madanapalle in Chittoor district. The person told the passengers that the tortoises should be delivered to his accomplice in Howrah and from there the species would be exported to Bangladesh,” DRI said in a statement.
The accused were taken into custody and the DRI officials called upon forest officials to certify the species of the tortoises.
The Indian star tortoises (Ggeochelone Eelegans) fall under the ‘vulnerable’ category of the endangered species of the under Schedule IV of India’s Wild Life Protection Act 1972 and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The reptile creatures have been handed over to Forest Range Officer in Vizag for further conservation.