One of the four exotic Aldabra tortoises has gone missing from the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology enclosure at Vadanemelli village near Mahabalipuram.
Police said according to the staff at the enclosure, each Aldabra tortoise can fetch close to Rs 15 lakh in the international market.
The three remaining tortoises are still safe in the enclosure, which was founded by Herpetologist Romus Whitaker, police said. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Mamallapuram Inspector Vadivel Murugan said it is suspected that the tortoise went missing on November 12.
“During feeding time, the staff found one of the tortoises missing. They informed their senior officials who informed us the next day. We are in the process of gathering CCTV footage. The employees are also being questioned. Special teams have been formed to trace the culprit soon,” he said.
A case has been registered under section 379 of the Indian Penal Code. Police said they are investigating whether the theft was an insider job. “The tortoise was kept on a hip-level compound wall and there was no CCTV facing that area. So, only the people aware of all these details could have involved in this act,” an officer said.
On Thursday, the Madras Crocodile Bank shared an image of the Aldabra tortoises on their social media pages, wishing their followers happy holidays.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines