280 star tortoises rescued from Chikkaballapur

280 star tortoises rescued from Chikkaballapur BENGALURU: In a joint mission conducted by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and Crime Investigation Department (CID) Forest Cell, 280 star tortoises were seized from a house in Sidlaghatta taluk of Chikkaballapur district on Sunday morning.

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Vijay, 23, son of Shahi Ram and resident of Balegowdanahalli, a village few kilometers away from Karnataka-Andhra border was arrested by Dibburhalli police station for collecting star tortoises from people in Andhra Pradesh and supplying it to several pet shops and agents involved in illegal trade of animals. Vijay has now been sent to judicial custody.
Pradeep TP, inspector at WCCB, Southern region, said: « These star tortoises are predominantly found in Andhra Pradesh from where Vijay collected them to sell them to pet shops and agents. Vijay works as a dealer in the illegal trade of wild animals within and outside the country. In the last few months we have had at least four such seizures in South India. Parakeets, squirrels and tortoises are few species which are continuously been exploited by these illegal traders. »
Sources from the forest department said that after the court grants permission, the tortoises will be released in a habitat conducive for them.
An official from forest department, said: « This is not the first time that such an incident has been reported in this area. There have been a couple of similar instances before. Most of the residents in this area have passport and go abroad which gives a clear hint that they might be involved in some illegal trading of exotic species. »