Ninety-seven endangered Indian Star Tortoises that were illegally smuggled into Singapore will soon be brought to India and released in their natural habitat.
The tortoises are currently undergoing quarantine and the Karnataka Forest Department and NGO Wildlife SOS (WSOS) are working to facilitate their repatriation.
Officials of the forest department and WSOS also travelled to Singapore to discuss and carry out formalities for the process.
After the tortoises are brought to India, they will be kept under observation for six months in the WSOS's field station in Koppal, after which they will be released into the wild in North Karnataka.
Anur Reddy, PCCF (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden Karnataka said, "Inspection of tortoises revealed that 85 tortoises were in good health & fit for immediate repatriation. Remaining 12 are under treatment & will be repatriated once they recover."
Indian star tortoise is protected under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and listed under Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), which regulates international trade of wildlife.