The Air Intelligence Unit of Mumbai Customs on Sunday seized 146 endangered tortoises recovered from a bag left behind by a flyer at international airport in Mumbai.
“We have seized 146 tortoises – 139 Radiated and 7 Angonoka species – which are endangered,” Assistant Customs Commissioner Kiran Kumar Karlapu said.
2 of the Radiated Tortoises were wrapped in polythene died due to broken shell and travel stress.
The Jet Airways brought a bag to AIU informing that some suspicious shell- like images had been noticed by security.
“The bag was said to belonged to a transit passenger who arrived from Madagascar and flew to Kathmandu leaving behind the bag,” Karlapu said.
Endangered species of Tortoises being smuggled from Madagascar to Nepal caught by Mumbai Airport Customs.
Out of the 146 tortoises, 139 were Radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and seven were Angonoka tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora), both critically endangered tortoise species of Madagascar.
The AIU officers checked the bag and found the tortoises.
“Since these were exotic species, they cannot be introduced into India and because of quarantine reasons, they were sent back to Madagascar,” the officer added.