Timely action and coordination between animal rescue organisations, wildlife agencies and the Delhi Police led to the rescue of 27 soft-shelled turtles, facing extinction, from poachers in South Delhi.

Found packed in a bag, the turtles had been captured by poachers from Rajasthan and brought to Delhi in public transport.

The rescue operation was effected by animal rescue organisation Wildlife SOS, along with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, the Delhi Wildlife Department and the police.

The operation was launched after information about the turtles being smuggled was received by the anti-poaching and wildlife intelligence unit of Wildlife SOS.

A team was deployed at Badarpur bus stand. After observing the movement of poachers and the presence of the contraband, government agencies were informed.

Wildlife SOS co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan said: “It is shocking that trade in endangered turtles is so rampant in Delhi.”

While the turtle’s meat is believed to have aphrodisiac properties, its carapace and plastron is dried, powdered and sold off in Bangladesh and South-East Asian countries for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

Poaching of endangered wildlife is an offence under the Wildlife Act. After due permission from the court concerned, the rescued turtles will be released in their natural habitat.

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