Close to 400 turtles, which were seized by Customs at the international airport in Mumbai last month, will be flown across state borders to their natural habitat in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.
On the occasion of World Turtle Day, officials from the Maharashtra forest department, along with members of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Hospital in Thane and NGO Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) will be transporting the turtles by air on Saturday morning at 10am.
“Of the 183 turtles from the first batch that was recovered from Mumbai airport, 46 died due to injuries and infections. We are transporting the rest from Dahanu to Mumbai,” said Pawan Sharma, president, RAWW.
Sharma added that the second batch of 161 turtles that was recovered on April 25 is also being brought to the office of the chief conservator of forest in Thane from the Karnala Bird Sanctuary in Panvel.
Officials from SPCA, Thane said all the turtles will be carried in netted bags, placed in cardboard boxes and transported in aircraft cargo.
“The turtles will be separated into three categories – small, medium and large and then placed in separate nets. Before we begin their packaging, a veterinarian will perform medical tests to check their stability,” said Shakuntala Majumdar, SPCA, Thane.