Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Ten Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), which is protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, were seized from a pet store located in Saheed Nagar here following a joint raid of the Quick Action Team (QAT) of the Commissionerate Police and the Forest Department on Tuesday.

Besides, two salesmen of the pet store were arrested by the Forest department.

Briefing newsmen about the seizure, Ashok Mishra, ACF, City division, stated, “On basis of a tip-off from the Commissionerate Police, the Forest department staff raided the pet store and seized the ten Indian star tortoises. Two salesmen are being taken into custody for quizzing and action will be taken as per the law.”

Mishra added, “The pet store owner might be called for questioning during the probe.”

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Feigning ignorance on how the Indian star tortoises were procured, Tara Kadak, one of the arrested salesmen and resident of West Bengal, said, “I sell the animals and birds species which are given by Abhijit Roy, the owner of the store, and don’t know from where the Indian star tortoises were brought,” adding that the seized star tortoises would have been sold at Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 per piece.

Subhendu Mallick, honorary wildlife warden of Khurda district, who was present during the raid, said, “Different sections under the Wildlife Act will be implemented in the Indian star tortoise seizure case.”

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