At least 97 endangered Indian Star Tortoises, which were smuggled into Singapore, will soon be brought back to India where they will be released back into their natural habitat. Karnataka Forest Department and Wildlife SOS have taken the responsibility of repatriating the Indian Star Tortoises from Singapore. The Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka Sri Anur Reddy travelled to Singapore along with Wildlife SOS co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan to carry out discussions regarding the repatriation.
Both of them reached ACRES wildlife rescue centre in Singapore to carry out the spot inspection of the tortoises who are currently under observation and quarantine. After this, request letters were sent to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), Customs and DGFT to issue necessary permissions to get back the tortoises.
“Inspection of tortoises revealed that 85 tortoises were in good health & fit for immediate repatriation. Remaining 12 are under treatment & will be repatriated once they recover,” said Sri Anur Reddy. Geeta Seshamani co-founder Wildlife SOS said, “Indian Star Tortoise is a rare and endangered species of land tortoise that is often poached from the wild and sold internationally for pet trade or for use as ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine.” They are protected under under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and listed under Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), which regulates international trade of wildlife.
The tortoises will be accompanied by a team of Veterinarians from Wildlife SOS India and ACRES Singapore. Preparations to create suitable environment for them back in India have already started. Their health will be constantly monitored in Wildlife SOS Field Station in Koppal. They will be released back in their natural habitat in North Karnataka after a period of six months of observation.