Luck runs out for rare tortoise merchants

29 December,2010 06:59 AM IST |   |  Varun Singh

Police raid shops selling rare tortoises, believed to bring wealth and good luck

Police raid shops selling rare tortoises, believed to bring wealth and good luck

Lucky charms turned unlucky for some pet shops in the city, as cops raided shops selling rare tortoises on Monday.

The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) raided the shop on Mohammed Ali Road along with the local police and rescued 11 star and two Singaporean tortoises.

The 11 star and two u00a0Singaporean tortoises were rescued by the u00a0BSPCA from a pet shop at Mohd Ali Road yesterday

Both star and Singaporean tortoises are rare species.

"Our inspector raided Classic Pet shop on Mohd Ali Road where we found 13 tortoises.
These tortoises are often in demand because many want to keep them at home as they are considered to bring fortune," said Dr J C Khanna, secretary, BSPCA.

"They are priced at a premium in the markets. As there is a great demand for these tortoises, many pet shops sell them illegally."

Keeping a star tortoise is illegal as it is a schedule IV animal and protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Khanna said that they registered a police complaint against the seller with the local police station. "Superstition is the biggest reason for the illegal sale of the animal," said Khanna.

Star tortoise is small in size, almost the size of a human palm, and has beautiful stars on its shells.

The beauty of the star tortoise also increases its demand. According to sources, a star tortoise can be priced anywhere above Rs 20,000.

Khanna said that every time the officials go for a raid on their own, they are unable to find anything as the shopkeepers hide the tortoises.

"However, whenever there is a complaint from an animal lover, we do find 10 to 15 tortoises of rare species," he said.

Khanna said that the last raid was conducted nearly eight months ago.

Rs 20,000
Approximate cost of a star tortoise

Ek Cutting!
New home

145 star tortoises were found stuffed in two gunny sacks and abandoned at Dadar railway station in June this year. They have made their new home at Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

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Singaporean tortoises BSPCA Mohd Ali Road raid shops selling tortoises