by Heather Lowe
In June, 63 Spotted Pond Turtles (Geoclemyshamiltonii) were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in India. In coordination with Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra Forest Department, the TSA-India Team transferred the turtles to the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Rehabilitation Center (KGTRC) in Lucknow. The previous month, the TSA-India team had participated in the repatriation of 335 Spotted Pond Turtles which had also been confiscated and rehabilitated at the KGTRC.
Dr. Shailendra Singh, Director, TSA-India said that “the long-term survivorship of such confiscated species is of great concern in a habitat outside of its distribution range. Given the rise in illegal trade of the Black Spotted Turtle and their timely confiscation at ports of exit from the country, it is equally important to swiftly rehabilitate and reintroduce the turtles back in their range.”
The TSA-India team is conducting comprehensive health assessments for each of the animals. Once an appropriate release location has been determined and the turtles are deemed stable, they will be returned to the wild. Following their release, the team will continue to do monitor the health and behavior of the turtles within their range.