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The Indian star tortoises

News: Indian star tortoises (Geochelone Elegans) have been seized by the Forest officials while being smuggled from Andhra Pradesh to Odisha.  

About Indian star tortoise: It is a species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forests of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is accustomed to monsoon seasons.  

These tortoises are easily recognizable by their star-patterned shells.  

Conservation Status: 

  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable  
  • CITES: Appendix I   
  • Wild Life Protection Act 1972: Schedule IV  

Habitat: Star tortoises come from a wide distribution in India, where they may live in semi-desert grasslands and moist deciduous forest. They may be found on sand dunes, in scrub forests, humid jungles and in human-altered habitats. 

Characteristics:  

  • Features: Indian star tortoise has medium-sized head, hooked beak and short, thick legs covered with tubercles of various size and shape. Males have long tail, while females have short and stubby tail. Indian star tortoise is diurnal animal that is mostly active in the morning and late in the afternoon. 
  • Behavior and Temperament: Indian star tortoises do not like being handled. They can get stressed out and get ill if handled frequently. 
  • Food Habits: Star tortoises are herbivores. They need plenty of fresh and dark leafy greens and grasses. 

 

Threats: It is the single most confiscated species of freshwater tortoise in the world. It faces threats such as loss of habitat to agriculture and illegal harvesting for the pet trade.   

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