Lucknow, Feb 9 (INA) Around 650 endangered freshwater Indian tent turtles, rescued from poachers, were released into the Gomti river in Bakshi-ka-talab area of Lucknow district.
The step came on the order of the court of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM).
The rare species of turtles were rescued from the poachers on the tip of from an informer by special task force (STF) and the Forest Department on February 5.
On information, 309 turtles were safely rescued from a hotel in Charbagh and 360 turtles were rescued from the smugglers near a mall on Shaheed Path. Some of the rescued turtles were injured and kept under observation for two days. After medical examination, the turtles were released in the Gomti river near Chandrika Devi temple in Kathwara village.
The rescued turtles are found especially in the Gomti river.
District Forest Officer Ravi Singh said: “The turtles are a protected species. People should avoid taming such species, which will protect these animals. If people are caught with these animals, they can be dealt with by law and get seven years imprisonment under the Wildlife Conservation Act.”
Shailendra Singh of Turtle Survival Alliance said: “The wild animals cannot be made pets at home and can contain some kind of infectious diseases. Turtles are an endangered species and if people will stop buying turtles or any other endangered animals it will save the lives of the animals and smuggling will also be stopped.”
On the release of turtles in the Gomti river, he said that turtles can survive in their natural habitat only. If they are released in other rivers and water bodies, it will be tough for them to survive, he added.
The Indian tent-shaped turtles (Pangshura tentoria circumdata) are found in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan with mud or sand bottoms. They feed on the vegetation found in the rivers.
The turtles are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.