Monday, September 20, 2021

Rescued turtles board Air India flight for grand journey to Lucknow from Hyderabad

Hyderabad: In a first for Telangana and in the fourth such instance in the country, 266 baby Indian tent turtles were airlifted to Uttar Pradesh from the Nehru Zoological Park on Saturday. These turtles spent six weeks at the park after they were rescued on August 1 from sellers here.

The team of 266 – both Indian tent turtles, and Indian roofed turtles – were taken to Lucknow by the Uttar Pradesh forest department and the Turtle Survival Alliance. The Indian roofed turtles are an endangered species and are given the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.

These turtles were confiscated in August this year from two persons. The duo was attempting to sell the turtles to aquarium shops from where people could purchase these for display in their own aquariums at home or as pets.

Following the seizure, 330 turtles were moved to the city zoo. “The zoo officials took good care of them,” Dr Shailendra Singh, director of Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), told Deccan Chronicle. “It is normal at their age, about a year old, to have some instances of mortality among these turtles,” he said.

The 266 turtles were flown in specially designed cargo container aboard the Air India flight. The airline is a trusted partner of TSA for trans-locating the endangered wildlife via New Delhi. After an eight-hour flight, they were received at Lucknow by TSA and UP forest department officials.

Dr Singh said these species of turtles are poached to cater to the demand for the illegal pets trade. They look very pretty and fit in beautifully well in aquariums. Both the species are sympatric and found in River Gomti and its associated wetlands, with one preferring the flowing water another the stagnant pools near and within the river.

20/09/21 Balu Pulipaka/Deccan Chronicle

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