Sindh

Smuggled turtles taken back from China released into Indus

SUKKUR: Sindh Wild Life Department officials released 230 freshwater turtles into their natural habitat in Indus river near Pannu Akil on Monday, ARY News reported.

The turtles were illegally poached and smuggled to China.

Sindh Wildlife Department officials had successfully retrieved the smuggled turtles from China. The Chinese authorities were instrumental in confiscating the consignment of hard-shell turtles arriving from Pakistan.

There are eight different species of freshwater turtles found in Pakistan, five of which are globally threatened species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red List.

Countless species including turtles are illegally poached and exported to other countries especially China and East Asian countries. However, it is for the first time the animals have been recovered alive from the poachers and repatriation of the turtles has taken place.

The turtles were handed over to Pakistan in a friendly ceremony conducted at the Pak-China Border at Khunjerab Pass.

The rescued turtles after one-month rehabilitation period at Wild Life department in Sukkur were released in Indus river near Pannu Akil.

Sindh’s Secretary Forest Naila Wajid talking to media disclosed that 218 more turtles, valued in several millions, were captured at Karachi airport, which were being smuggled to Hong Kong.

The turtles are used as food as well as in traditional Chinese medicines. The hard shell species are also being targeted in illegal trade for sale as pets.

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