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Rare turtles rescued in Maharashtra return to Assam

Rare turtles rescued in Maharashtra return to their native habitat in Assam after an 18-hour flight on Friday.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Sixty-three endangered turtles rescued in Maharashtra reached their native habitat in Assam on Friday noon after an 18-hour flight.

The turtles belong to five species, including the spotted pond turtle and the crowned river turtle marked as endangered in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

According to Shailendra Singh, director of Turtle Survival Alliance’s (TSA) India programme, the turtles were confiscated by the Pune Forest Division between 2019 and 2020.

“Building on successful translocation operations by TSA, the Maharashtra and Assam Forest Departments used our expertise for the rehabilitation of these 63 rescued turtles,” he said.

The turtles were housed in interim facilities of the Indian Herpetological Society and Resq Charitable Trust in Pune, after they were rescued from poachers and illegal sellers by Maharashtra wildlife officials. The conditions were not suitable for these turtles away from their native habitat.

Apart from the COVID-19 restrictions for almost two years and unavailability of any direct flights between Pune and Guwahati, other complications of turtle translocation had to be accounted for before this successful transfer, a TSA spokesperson said.

“Each turtle was inspected thoroughly before being packed in padded plastic boxes for their 18-hour journey via Delhi. They are being housed at the Assam State Zoo after arrival in Guwahati,” she said.

A zoo official said the turtles are under observation and standard quarantine for eventual rehabilitation into the wild.


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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 11:03:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rare-turtles-rescued-in-maharashtra-return-to-assam/article35897092.ece

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