On Monday, August 18, 2014, authorities of the People’s Republic of China handed over 204 Black Pond Turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) to the authorities of Pakistan. The animals, mostly adults, had been confiscated on 15 June 2014 in the Tajik Autonomous County of Taxkorgan, in northwest China’s Xinjian Uygur Autonomous Region, which borders Pakistan. Police apprehended the person who smuggled the animals from Pakistan into China, and five prospective buyers.
The Turtle Survival Alliance commends China and Pakistan for this exemplary action to act against illegal turtle trade and repatriate the animals to their country of origin. We express our warm thanks to Mr. Wan Ziming of the CITES Management Authority of China, Ms. Yang Liuying of the State General Administration of Customs of China, Dr. Syed Nasir Mahmood, Inspector General, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, and Mr. Javed Ahmed Maha, Provincial Head of Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh, Pakistan, and their staff.
The Black Pond Turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii) is native to Pakistan, as well as India and Nepal. It is listed in Appendix I of CITES, prohibiting all commercial international trade, and is protected under domestic wildlife legislation. Nevertheless, its illegal trade has increased greatly in recent years.