Star tortoises – endangered species back to Bannerghatta Park
The Endangered species Star tortoises repatriated from Singapore are released into Bannerghatta National Park center at Bengaluru. These tortoises are transferred into a special anti-predatory enclosure built by Karnataka Forest Department officials.
The enclosure is created specially to keep these endangered species safely. A forest guard and an SOS volunteer will keep round the clock watch on these star tortoises.
Efforts of an NGO to bring back endangered Star tortoises :
With a lot of effort by a Bengaluru-based NGO Wildlife SOS along with authorities in Singapore and their Indian counterparts, these star tortoises are back. The efforts led to the return of close to 50 Indian Star tortoises which were smuggled out of India to Singapore.
The reptiles were intercepted by Singapore officials. Later they were placed at a rescue center under the care of an NGO called ACRES. A team of forest officials made a trip to Singapore to inspect the reptiles.
After confirming that they were indeed Indian Star tortoises, one of the most trafficked tortoise species in the world efforts were made to bring it back.
Star Tortoises :
Geochelone is a genus of tortoises. Geochelone tortoises, which are also known as typical tortoises or terrestrial turtles, can be found in Africa and Asia. They primarily eat plants.
The genus consists of two extant species:
- Indian Star tortoise ( elegant)
- Burmese star tortoise ( platynota)
The form of the shell of the Indian star tortoise allows it to turn over when lying upside down very easily.
Indian Star Tortoises are poached mainly for their body parts and meat. The star tortoises have been declared as “endangered species” and are protected in India under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
It has taken 16 months to bring back the endangered species. The quarantined tortoises will be kept under observation for 3 months.
These Star tortoises will be monitored with the help of a microchip. The height, weight and the health of the tortoises will be monitored periodically.
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