Crackdown on smugglers: Dehydration, injuries kill 146 of 1,583 rescued turtles in UP
As many as 146 out of the 1,583 turtles rescued from smugglers in Banthra on November 16 have died due to dehydration and injuries.
They were stuffed into jute sacks and being ferried by the smugglers on a truck to West Bengal.
“At least 60% of them were dehydrated and many were injured. The turtles were kept in pathetic conditions. The smugglers, to conceal them, had stashed them under a ply wood,” said Arunima Singh, of Turtle Survival Alliance, which is looking after the rescued turtles in Kukrail forest area.
The load of ply had damaged the shells of many turtles. “The rest of the turtles are now stable, but it will take time for them to recover completely,” she said.
These turtles were not collected by the smugglers in a day, but over weeks or months, and were kept in poor conditions, said those taking care of them at Kukrail.
Protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Act, the Indian Flap shell turtle or ‘Sundari’ (as they are locally called) were brought from different water streams in Etawah, Mainpuri, Etah and were to be handed over to smugglers in West Bengal.
The hapless animals were bound for Kolkata where they were to be shipped to foreign ports for manufacture of medicines or consumption of their meat. The rescue operation was conducted in Banthra, Lucknow on November 16.
“Their condition seemed as if they were collected in weeks and not in one day. This is why some had old injuries and many also had fresh wounds,” said Arunima.
Experts were giving treatment to the turtles as per individual needs. Some of the turtles were on antibiotic course.
LOAD OF PLY DAMAGED THEIR SHELLS
The turtles were rescued from smugglers in an operation in Banthra on November 16.
They were stuffed into jute sacks and being ferried on a truck to West Bengal. The load of ply damaged the shells of many turtles.
The turtles were bound for Kolkata where they were to be shipped to foreign ports for manufacture of medicines or consumption of their meat.