146 tortoises belonging to two critically endangered species, endemic to Madagascar, were confiscated by airport officials of Mumbai International Airport. 139 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and 7 Angonoka or Ploughshare Tortoises (Astrochelys Yniphora) were wrapped tightly in plastic bags and were en route from Madagascar to Nepal. According to reports, only 600 Angonoka Tortoises are left in nature now, and a female could fetch as much as Rs.40 lakhs in the InternationalMarket. In 10 – 15 years there will probably be no Ploughshares left.
In alliance with Turtle Survival Alliance, Thane SPCA assisted reptile specialist Dr. Gowri Mallapur to segregate, clean, feed, water and weigh the tortoises where they have been kept. Volunteers were deputed daily till their stay with us, to keep watch over them and feed them with their special diet of mushroom, ridge gourd, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and spinach. Two weeks later the tortoises left for their Motherland in Africa with the co-ordination of CITES and WCCB.