More Than 100 Seized Endangered Tortoises Returned to Madagascar

April 18, 2016

Luggage abandoned at an airport in India held more than 100 endangered tortoises that apparently had been smuggled from Madagascar.
Customs officials at the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport in India found a total of 146 turtles in the bag, including 139 radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and seven angonoka tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) in the bag, which apparently belonged to Lal Bahadur, who officials called a smuggler who had traveled on an Mauritius flight to Mumbai, India and then traveled to Nepal. 

smuggled radiated tortoises

India Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

More than 100 endangered tortoises were discovered in an abandoned bag at an airport in India.

The airport’s air intelligence made the discovery March 20. Two radiated tortoises were already dead and 15 more died after the discovery. 

India’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (Western region) took over the investigation per CITES protocol and were placed in foster care March 21, with officers from the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. A wildlife veterinarian Dis treating the remaining tortoises to ensure they can overcome the stress of the smuggling event, according to Mid-Day News. 

The seven Angonoka tortoises will be placed into a breeding program in Madagascar in an effort to bolster the populations of the reptile species. The radiated tortoises will be released back into the wild after they go through quarantine, Dr. Shailendra Singh, country director for TSA India told Mid-Day News

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