UP: 482 Dead & 172 Sick Turtles Found In Pond, Smugglers Dump Them After Police Close In
Police recovered 654 Indian flapshell turtles from a pond in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah on November 28. Out of the 654 found, 482 died while the rest 172 were found to be seriously ill.
The turtles found all belong to Lissemys punctata species which is a protected species under The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, reported NDTV. The forest department received a tip-off and raided the area to find the turtles in the pond.
While the smugglers were able to flee, the leader of the smuggling racket, Raj Kapoor has been identified but is yet to be found and arrested. “The smuggled turtles are used for making soup. People also believe that they are used to increase their sex power,” said Dr Ashish, environmentalist.
The smugglers collected these turtles from different locations. The police think that this is part of a bigger operation.
Turtle smuggling is a rising menace in Asia. Turtles are a desired and prized pet trade because of their diamond-shaped markings on their shells. In Asia, it holds a dietary and cultural importance.
In Asia, softshell turtles are eaten in the belief that it will lead to a long life as turtles have a long lifespan. “It’s under a belief that, since turtles have long lives, eating them will confer some of that longevity into the consumer,” says Gavin Shire, a spokesperson for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “So turtles are generally being smuggled out for that purpose,” he added, reported National Post.
Hardshell turtles are generally reserved for European collectors who pay steep figures to buy rare species of turtles. Poachers often set traps to catch the turtles. They are well equipped with their habitat and behavioural patterns.
The Logical Indian hopes this menace of turtle smuggling can be put to an end. There is a lot of awareness about ivory smuggling but not many know that turtle is also illegally smuggled. Entire species have been wiped out because of this practice. We hope awareness is created about this crime.