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63 rescued turtles from Pune airlifted to Assam to be released into their natural habitat

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According to a forest official on Thursday, rare species of 63 turtles were airlifted from Maharashtra’s Pune to Assam to release them into their natural habitat. 

The official added that the turtle of endangered species, namely crowned river turtle, brown roof turtle, spotted river terrapin, and Indian roof turtle were rescued during various seizures in Maharashtra.

Endangered species of turtles being sent by airways for first time in India

“This is the first that endangered species of turtles are being sent by airways to release them in the northeastern state,” said Rahul Patil, the Deputy Conservator of Forest from Pune division.

As per the sources, the turtles will be handed over to Turtle Survival Alliance and forest officials in Assam after reaching Guwahati. Soon after that, they will be released into their natural habitat, the official said.

“The Assam Forest Department will ensure that these turtles are released into their natural habitat safely. This is the first time that the state Forest Department sent turtles by air to their natural habitat,” says the Deputy Conservator of Forest Rahul Patil.

Also Read: Assam: Kaziranga National Park staffs to be given satellite phones as an anti-poaching measure

About the turtles

Out of 63 turtles, 55 were with the Indian Herpetological Society, Katraj in Pune, and eight had been seized from the RESQ Charitable Trust, said sources.

Forest officials stated the turtles were seized during arrests of people who wanted to sell the rare species illegally and also in the case of smuggling.


Earlier, on June 29, a Forest Department team had planned a trap near Mankar Chowk in Wakad and managed to arrest two persons who were involved in the case of illegal sale of turtles.

Two dead and one live turtle were found from their possession during searches, said sources.

The turtles were airlifted to Assam after going through all the medical procedures and agreeing to all the terms and conditions from both organizations according to the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

Many of the turtles were protected under Schedule 1 under the Act.

Vivek Khandekar, the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said:

“Animals of various protected categories, including turtles are traded. It is often smuggled and found at airports. The turtles are protected by confiscating them. Since their native habitat was different, they were sent to their native land. Efforts for this have been going on for a long time.”

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