On Saturday, December 25th, our TSA India Program gave the gift of freedom to 259 freshwater turtles- rewilding them to the Gomti and Sarju rivers of northern India.
TSA partners Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force and Uttar Pradesh Forest Department seized the turtles from wildlife traffickers just over a month ago. The seized turtles included Crowned River Turtles (Hardella thurjii), Indian Eyed Turtles (Morenia petersi), Indian Roofed Turtles (Pangshura tecta), and Indian Tent Turtles (Pangshura tentoria).
The four species -two of them Endangered- underwent health assessments and quarantine and received specialized care at the joint TSA/UPFD/Endangered Project’s Laboratory for Aquatic Biology at the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Lucknow.
Three defendants are accused of trafficking the turtles from Lucknow and Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, to Indore, Madhya Pradesh- an illegal act. At the time of seizure, our TSA India Program provided immediate on-site triage, as well as provided rehabilitation support for the turtles’ rewilding.
We would like to thank and acknowledge Dr. Ravi Kumar Singh (DFO Awadh Forest Division), Mr. Manish Singh (DFO Bahraich Forest Division), UP Police’s Special Task force team, and Arunima Singh, Priyanka Kathayat, and Rinku Kumar.