63 Rescued Turtle Returns To Assam

63 Rescued Turtle Returns To Assam

According to an official of the Assam State Zoo, 63 turtle species including the endangered Spotted Pond Turtle and Crowned River Turtle has been translocated from Pune to the Assam State Zoo on Friday.

The official said that the animals are under observation and standard quarantine for an eventual rehabilitation into the wild.

As per a media report, the turtles confiscated by the Pune Forest division during 2019-2020 were flown back to their native habitat in the north-eastern India from Pune in Maharashtra on Friday with the help of Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) India, following months of meticulous planning and onerous administrative clearances.

These turtles were housed in the interim facilities of Indian Herpetological Society and Resq Charitable Trust at Pune after the seizure, but climate fluctuations and unsuitable weather conditions still loomed as constant threats to the survival of these species.

Therefore, flying the turtles back to their native river systems in Assam remained the only viable option but the COVID-19 restrictions for almost two years and unavailability of any direct connections between Pune and Guwahati, along with other complications of turtle translocation had to be accounted for before the transfer, said a forest official from Pune.

Each turtle was inspected thoroughly before packing in padded plastic cartons for their 18-hour journey, via Delhi.

Pawan Pareek, a researcher with TSA India, Lucknow Head Office inspected the consignment during it's night-long layover at the Delhi Airport, stated the media report.

Pareek ensured that the turtles were healthy, not stressed by transit, and most importantly, maintained the hydration level, TSA Director India Programme Shailendra Singh said.

The turtles are housed at the Assam State Zoo under observation and standard quarantine for an eventual rehabilitation into the wild, after their reception in Guwahati by a joint team of Assam State Zoo and TSA.

Through generous cooperation between state forest departments, conservation organisations and individuals, this is the third time the turtles have had the opportunity to fly back to their homes.

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