Illegal trade of wildlife rife in country: survey

Published: December 27, 2016

Illegal trade of wildlife, including of freshwater turtles, is rife in the country, a survey has revealed.

This was disclosed by Rab Nawaz, the senior director of programmes at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan in a statement on Monday.

Nawaz said that WWF-Pakistan had conducted an undercover survey of markets in 23 selected cities across Pakistan to determine scale of illegal wildlife trade in the country.

At all markets that they surveyed, Nawaz said, illegal trade in wildlife, including freshwater turtles, was rife.

Nawaz’s comments came a day after the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board had confiscated 36 freshwater turtles, including black-spotted and Brown-roofed turtles, which were being sold illegally at a weekly market in the capital.

The WWF-Pakistan official, appreciating efforts of the board for taking action against the illicit trade, said they had been receiving complaints from the capital’s citizens about the sale of turtles.

He pointed out the freshwater turtles are protected under the provincial wildlife protection acts. He added that trafficking of wildlife was criminal and an environmental issue. Dr Anis-ur-Rahman, Chairman of IWMB, said that Sunday’s seizure is a significant step towards eradicating illegal trade of wildlife in the capital.

He added that the confiscated turtles had been transferred at Marghazar Zoo for the necessary quarantine after which they will be released in a secure natural habitat.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2016.

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