Kolkata, Sep 2: A total of 952 Indian star tortoises – an endangered species protected under Indian and international laws – were seized by Border Security Force personnel when these reptiles were about to be smuggled to Bangladesh through a West Bengal border post, officials said Monday.
The BSF troopers caught hold of the tortoises, valued at around Rs.3.20 crore in the illegal market, in Tentulberia village of North 24 Parganas district, close to the border Sunday.
Two smugglers carrying the tortoises were arrested by a BSF patrol. The seizures are being touted as the biggest such haul of the reptiles.
The state wildlife department later took the tortoises in its custody.
The Indian star tortoise, found in dry areas and scrub forests in India and Sri Lanka and quite popular in the exotic pet trade, can grow up to 26 cm.