Four of the 34 freshwater turtles seized by forest department officials on the Pakistan-China border died during transportation from Gilgit to Islamabad.
“Unfortunately, four of them died on the way to Islamabad,” Babar Khan, head of World Wildlife Fund Gilgit told The Express Tribune. Khan said the remaining 30 turtle were released in Korung River in Islamabad.
“We were able to identify three different species of freshwater turtles from the consignment,” said Khan. Twenty of them were Indian softshell turtles, three were Indian flapshell turtles and seven were Brown roofed turtles.
The Gilgit-Baltistan’s forests department had seized at least 34 turtles at Sost, a town near the border on Thursday. A Chinese citizen, Chuch Bin, was attempting to smuggle them into China where the meat and skin of the endangered species is said to be in high demand. Investigation revealed that the accused spent nearly three months in Rawalpindi, picking up the turtles from various areas of the Pothohar region.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2012.