Officials of the customs department at Benazir Bhutto International Airport foiled an attempt to smuggle 320 endangered turtles to Thailand on Thursday. The alleged smuggler has been arrested.
Customs Superintendent Suhail Qureshi said the turtles, packed in a carton, were being smuggled by Saeed Ahmed Faraz, a resident of Lahore. “The customs officials found the turtles when they opened the box,” Qureshi said.
According to Wildlife District Officer Maqsood Ahmad, the turtles are an endangered species and worth millions of rupees. He added that leathery skins of the turtles are a delicacy in Japan and Thailand. “It will help us protect the endangered species. These rare turtles are found only in Pakistan. Due to illegal trade, fishing, and hunting, the reptiles are listed as vulnerable,” he said.
He said the turtles will be treated and monitored before being released back into Shahpur Dam, Fateh Jang. The wildlife expert further said that green-dotted skin of the turtles is very expensive and is used in chemicals in Japan.
The airport authorities handed over the alleged smuggler to police and a case has been registered against him.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2013.
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