Sindh Wildlife Dept seizes 151 rare turtles, tortoises in Liaquatabad : report
KARACHI: Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) officials caught an illegal wildlife trader and seized 151 turtles/tortoises of highly rare and protected wildlife species on Thursday, reported leading English daily.
A case was registered against the illegal wildlife trader and the reptiles were confiscated and were expected to be released in the wild in a day or two.
According to reports, wildlife inspector Naeem Khan along with the SWD’s raiding party, headed by Azeem Burfat, on a tip-off raided the shop, Marine Fish, in Al-Azam Square, Liaquatabad No 10, on Thursday morning and seized 129 freshwater turtles, nine marine green turtles and 13 tortoises, three of them dead.
A case had also been registered under a first offence report (494/47) against the alleged illegal wildlife trader, Shakir Ali, under Sections 7, 10, 17, 33A and 34 of the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance.
Inspector Khan said the specimens seized were of highly rare species and trapping of and trading in them was banned under the wildlife protection laws. He said that these turtles/tortoises were in high demand in China and other Far Eastern countries, where they were considered delicacies and fetched high prices.
He said the seized protected wildlife species had been confiscated. They would be released in their respective habitats: Hawkesbay, Haleji Lake, Thatta, Sujawal districts, and near the Sindh-Balochistan border — after completion of legal formalities in a day or two.
According to experts, illicit wildlife trade of freshwater turtles is escalating in Pakistan as there have been a number of cases in which these animals, particularly the black pond species, have been confiscated in large numbers in recent years. Poaching and smuggling of freshwater turtles in recent times, has led to a significant decline in their population.