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The trail of a tortoise

VARANASI: While the world works on a global tsunami warning system, back here in this religiously significant city, the police have recovered a rare rainbow-coloured tortoise, which wildlife officials say has the ability to sense impending natural calamities such as undersea quakes.

The tortoise was recovered from a merchant navy man, Ram Kewal Chauhan, in the Dawshashamedh area. He was planning to sell it for Rs. 5 lakhs, the police said. Chauhan and two others were arrested.

During interrogation Chauhan revealed that he found it near Mudra Adani off the Gujarat coast while on board a ship travelling from Karachi. He caught and took it home in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh.

The Wildlife Warden of Varanasi, P.N. Pandey, said the species had been thought to be extinct.

Sources said it was possible the tortoise had left its natural habitat in December 2004 looking for a safe haven ahead of the undersea quake and the subsequent tsunami. — UNI

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