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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 31, 2007
BSF rescue endangered tortoise near Tripura capital Agartala
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BSF rescue endangered tortoise near Tripura capital Agartala

Border Security Force (BSF) personnel have rescued a consignment of endangered tortoise (Geochelone Elongata or Indotestudo Elongata) between the Akhuara immigration centre and Lankamura border outpost on the outskirts of Agartala today.

By Pinaki Das

Agartala, May 31 : Border Security Force (BSF) personnel have rescued a consignment of endangered tortoise (Geochelone Elongata or Indotestudo Elongata) between the Akhuara immigration centre and Lankamura border outpost on the outskirts of Agartala today.

The BSF believe that the rare animals were smuggled from Chittagong in Bangladesh were destined to become delicacies served up by restaurants or household pets.

The tortoises were discovered in a sack under a bridge reportedly left by a Bangladeshi smugglerrying to sneak into Indian territory.

A BSF official said the consignment could have fetched several thousand rupees in the black market.

No one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

The tortoises, which are indigenous to India, are protected by international anti-hunting conventions.

The animals have been handed over to the State Forest Department.

According to the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), there are 25 types of turtles on the endangered list, including tortoises and freshwater turtles. It also claims that 200 of the 300 living species of tortoises and freshwater turtles are threatened with extinction and require conservation action.

The TCF list is based on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, as well as general consensus between TCF's three partner organizations-the Center For Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International(CABS), The World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission's (IUCN/SSC) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), and IUCN/SSC Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA).

The Elongated (Geochelone elongata), Burmese Brown (Geochelone emys), and Impressed (Geochelone impressa) tortoises are all so specialized that they often die in transit and usually aren't profitable for smugglers.

It is a species of tortoise found in Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia. The species is found in Nepal, Bangladesh,NE India (Jalpaiguri, East Bengal, and Singhbhum in Bihar), Myanmar, Laos, Thailand (incl. Phuket), Cambodia, Vietnam, W Malaysia, S China.

Typically,this type of tortoise is around 30 cm (12 inches) long and 3.5 kg (7 pounds) as an adult. Females tend to be wider than males and more rounded. Males also have a tail that is much larger than that of the female. The males have a concave plastron while the plastron of a female is flat. Additionally, the female's posterior claws are markedly longer and more curved than those of the male. It is believed that this is to facilitate nest building.

ANI

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