An abandoned and critically-ill pregnant Indian star tortoise was rescued by the Mumbai range of the forest department earlier this week. It has been diagnosed with an advanced stage of metabolic bone disease.
The reptile was found abandoned in a building complex at Ghatkopar by a resident. He informed the forest department about it and they rescued the reptile, said Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW). It was later handed over to the Thane Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA), where X-ray reports revealed that the tortoise was pregnant with three eggs. The vet, Dr Archana Bapat, then learnt that the tortoise had developed the bone disease. It is now under intensive care.
“While this may not be a rare disease, the reptile has poor chances of survival presently. Its shell has turned rubber-soft due to the bone disease as its body starts absorbing calcium required for normal metabolic and hormonal functions from its shell, thereby causing excessive softening of the shell,” said Pawan Sharma, president, RAWW, adding, “Most of the star tortoises kept in illegal captivity are prone to this disease, which leads to a slow and extremely painful death.”
Listed under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, star tortoises are one of the most trafficked wildlife globally.