STAFF REPORT IBD: A consignment of 34 live turtles is confiscated from Pakistans northern most “Sust” border between Pakistan and China by the Gilgit-Baltistan Forest, Wildlife and Parks Department, and WWF Pakistan which were being illegally captured and transported to China. These turtles were later released in the fresh water of Korung River, Islamabad.

“A consignment of 34 turtles was originated from Adiala, Rawalpindi, and was bound to China. The culprit paid a penalty worth Rs 2,000 for illegally exporting the turtles from Pakistan,” said Rehmat Ullah Baig, Range Forest Officer, while briefing the media.

This trade in wildlife especially in freshwater turtles is on its peak during the last eight years, which has resulted in the killing of several hundreds and thousands of these species in order to feed Chinese restaurants and help in preparing Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM).

Uzma Noureen, Coordinator, WWF – Pakistan, said that eight different species of freshwater turtles are found in Pakistan; five of which are globally threatened species in the IUCN Red List. She appreciated the role of government departments in taking initiatives to conserve their countrys rich biodiversity.

Turtles are keystone species and contribute to maintaining the integrity of freshwater ecosystems being predators and also as food for other predators.

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