In a unique initiative, wildlife enthusiasts have been successful in bringing back 51 Indian Star tortoises back to India from Singapore. These harmless creatures were originally smuggled from India and sold in Singapore as victims of illegal wildlife trafficking.
For this repatriation mission, WildlifeSOS India and ACRES Singapore joined hands. Singapore Airlines played an important role in this as they have transported these vulnerable animals for free.
The tortoises landed at the Bengaluru airport today.
“The Stars have landed! Receiving 51 star tortoises from Singapore at Bangalore airport & taking them to be released into their habitat,” tweeted WildlifeSOS India
For transporting the tortoises, they were kept in specially designed boxes so that they did not face any problem in their long journey from Singapore to India.
At the airport, Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, along with her team and BK Singh, former Chief Wildlife Warden and Head of forest force of Karnataka, received the tortoises. They will finally be released in their original habitat.
Investigations have confirmed that Karnataka was the origin of the tortoises.
Meanwhile, once the tortoises have completed their quarantine period of three months, the Wildlife SOS intends to initiate radio tagging and monitor these animals for survival.
Indian star tortoise is a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It is one of the most trafficked tortoise species in the world owing to the unique star-like radiating pattern on the shell.