Man held in Pune with two endangered Indian star tortoises
25 January 2019

India: The city crime branch unit III sleuths have arrested a 29-year-old man who was in possession with two Indian star tortoises which is an endangered species protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. The reptile is popular in the exotic pet trade and black magic practices.

According to inspector Dipak Nikam of crime branch unit III, Constable Nitin Rawal had received a tip-off about Prashant Satpute, 29, who is keeping the tortoises at his home in Erandwane.

A team of crime branch, including assistant police inspector Sandip Deshmane, sub-inspectors Sanjay Gaikwad and Ajay Mhetre, and constables nabbed Satpute from his residence and seized the tortoises. The police said that the accused has been arrested under the Wildlife Protection Act. The police team also included policemen Kishore Shinde, Machindra Walke, Kailash Solunke, Rohidas Lavande, Gajanan Ganbote and Wilson Dsouza.

Indian star tortoise is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It is one of the most trafficked tortoise species in the world because of the unique star-like radiating pattern on their shell. The reptile is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ in the red list of endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the status of the natural world.

The species are also listed in the Schedule IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and prohibited from export under the foreign trade policy. The species are liable for confiscation under the Customs Act, 1962.

(Source: The Hindustan Times)