In a bid to repatriate 800 Indian Star tortoises, which were seized while being smuggled out of the country, Tamil Nadu forest officials have sought the help of molecular biologists to identify their place of origin.

Two types of Star tortoises are present in the country – one set found in the Western parts in Gujarat and Rajasthan and the other type in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and also in the neighbouring island country, Sri Lanka. They are smuggled out of the country for use as exotic pets and delicacies.