The Sindh Wildlife Department, during a tip-off operation, rescued 40 endangered black pond turtles in Karachi Sunday.
The suspect has been arrested and sent to jail. According to a tweet by the department, the accused man was presented before a district and sessions court in Karachi’s South district.
An FIR has been registered against him under sections of unlawful possession of wild animals of the Sindh Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management Act, 2020.
According to the law, the trade, possession, and smuggling of black pond turtles is a serious crime under both domestic and international laws.
The court ruled that turtles should be released at the Lake Haleji Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday [October 10].
Black pond turtles are categorized as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list. They have been declared protected by the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972 as well.
The animals live in shallow ponds, rivers, and lakes. Over the years, the population of endangered freshwater animals, such as turtles and tortoises, has seen a rapid decline due to illegal trade and smuggling. The government has been actively cracking down on people illegally possessing these animals.
A report by the IUCN revealed that turtles and tortoises play a key role in the environment and food web as co-dependent species.
Meanwhile, freshwater turtles play a significant role in the health of the aquatic ecosystem due to their scavenger nature.
They transfer nutrients from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems, maintaining food webs and feeding on dead animals and purifying water.
Turtles and tortoises play an invaluable role in balancing ecosystems and providing ecosystem services, which are also critically important for human welfare.