The Indian Star Tortoise (Gekoche) lone elegans) is being sold openly India and international trade in the endangered species is thriving. Listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Appendix II, and in the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the small tortoise, measuring about 35 cm in length, is popular as a pet. In south India alone,i an estimated 10,000-15,000 tortoises are sold each year. A large number have recently been smuggled from India to Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. The tortoise is also valued for its meat. It is also used in native medicines and the shells are sometimes sold as jewellery boxes (TRAFFIC Bulletin, Vol 16, No 3).
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