ISLAMABAD: Field officers from the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) have saved three endangered Indian-roofed turtles from being sold in the black market.

Protected under the Islamabad Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1979, the turtles were confiscated after a raid on a pet store in Jinnah Super Market last week.

No action has been taken against owners of the pet store. This is the second time that the pet store has been caught trading in endangered species. Last year, the same team from the IWMB had confiscated 13 turtles from the store. The store was selling the turtles for Rs3,000 each.

“We have had sessions for owners of pet shops to create awareness that trading and selling of endangered animals is against the law. The pet store in question was aware of trading illegally in endangered species. A report has been filed and it is now up to our superiors to take action,” IMWB field officer Zaheer Khan told Dawn.

He said it was illegal to keep any species of turtles as sale of pets is prohibited.

Indian roofed turtles can be found around any large bodies of water, especially the Indus River and lakes such as Rawal Lake.

The turtles are in the possession of IWMB and two of them are expected to be returned to Rawal Lake and the third one to be released in the Korang River.

“These are some of the natural habitats of the Indian-roofed turtles and they must be returned to their natural environment to ensure their survival,” Mr Khan added.

He said over 60 species of turtles had been confiscated and saved in the last two years, including 10 from one of the weekly bazaars last year.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2019