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285 star tortoises to be released in their natural habitat

Meanwhile, Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden for Thane says that these tortoises — protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972

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285 star tortoises to be released in their natural habitat
Star tortoises to be flown to Karnataka
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Remaining in 'official captivity' for a long period after being rescued from illegal pet trade industry, around 285 star tortoises will be flown to Karnataka to be released in their natural habitat.

M Maranko, Regional Deputy Director, WCCB, Western Regional office, said that they have received the necessary permission on Wednesday from the Karnataka Forest Department to repatriate the star tortoises inside the core area of Bannerghatta National Park near Bengaluru. "We had around 202 star tortoises that were seized in various raids. Thane forest department had another 83. All of these will be packed together in ventilated crates. Our staff will also be onboard the same flight, who will take the tortoises to Bannerghatta and release them," he said.

The rising mortality rate of these tortoises had moved Shakuntala Majumdar, President, TSPCA. So, she arranged for officials from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to help carry out DNA tests of the turtles in TSPCA and the Dhanau centre, to ascertain their origin and facilitate an early release.

Meanwhile, Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden for Thane said that these tortoises — protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 — are one of the most popular selling species in the illegal pet markets of Mumbai. "It's sad that despite being rescued, most of them perish or are left in pitiable conditions or in foster homes as there are no designated rescue centres for them. These have to be released in their natural habitat within a week of being rescued," he said.

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