ISLAMABAD: Officials of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) rescued five endangered turtles from a pet store in F-10. The turtles were safely released into Indus river.

The IWMB officials received a complaint from a citizen who went to the pet shop to buy a domesticated animal and found the turtles.

An official said the Indian roof shell turtle, black pond turtle, crown river turtle, Indian flap shell turtle and ganges soft shell turtle were confiscated. Pakistan has four soft shell and four hard shell turtle species inhabiting its various ecosystems.

The IWMB is strictly enforcing the Islamabad Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Ordinance 1979 that bans trade of wild animals in the capital.

The board is controlling illegal trade of wild animals and campaigning among masses to contain illicit trade of wildlife species, he said, adding during monsoon season, turtles start roaming on greenbelts and open spaces of the capital due to humidity. Recently, a citizen spotted a turtle on the greenbelt in front of Islamabad Club and informed the board. The animal was then safely relocated to a safer place.

There have been such accumulative complaints and reports submitted by people pertaining to turtles and other wild animals which are safely rescued and rehabilitated at the IWMB office and then released into their natural habitat, the IWMB official said.

According to the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the ganges soft shell and Indian peacock soft shell turtles were listed as vulnerable while the Indian flap shell turtle was listed as least concerned.

Furthermore, the IWMB officials also rescued five chakor and one grey partridge from Sihala. They were handed over to Haripur Forest and Wildlife Department and were later released by Forests and Wildlife Secretary Abid Majeed.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2022

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