500 Star Turtles Seized at Chennai Airport

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Chennai: 500 star turtles were seized by the Chennai Customs and the wildlife crime control bureau in a major seizure on the night of July 28 when it was being smuggled to Malaysia in a Thai Airways flight. The star turtles is one of the most common targets for smugglers as it is known for its beautiful ornate design on the shell. The star turtles is in high demand also for its pet and medical purposes across the world. The officials of Thai Airways grew suspicious following a movement inside thermocol boxes just before being uploaded as cargo in the flight.  The Thai officials alerted the customs officials who opened the boxes and found nearly 500 star turtles bundled in cloth bags, a source said. The wildlife crime control bureau officials also confirmed that they are star tortoise, a banned export substance. There were about ten tortoises in each cloth bag that were bundled and being placed inside the thermocol boxes. Rajavelan of Cosmic Exports, the exporter of the consignment had been identified as the owner of the company who had declared that the consignment contains crab. Investigations are being conducted to know more if the company was involved in the smuggling or some other middlemen were involved. The estimated cost of 500 turtles are said to be nearly Rs 50 lakh in international market.  The export of the star turtles are illegal according to sections 9, 38 and 48A of Wildlife Protection Act 1972.  ]]>

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