Turtle Smuggling

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    • Recently, forest officials from Odisha found 40 Indian flapshell turtles (Lissemys punctata) in baskets in an alleged smuggling racket.

    Indian Flapshell Turtle

    • It is a freshwater species of turtle and is found in many states.  
    • The “flap-shelled” name stems from the presence of femoral flaps located on the plastron. 
    • It is a relatively small soft-shell turtle with a carapace length of up to 350 millimetres.  
    • The fresh water turtle is a scavenger in the river, but has been in decline for a long time.
    • Reasons for Smuggling: 
      • For aphrodisiac properties,
      • Livestock feed, 
      • To make leather from their skins, 
      • To make potions from their blood and
      • To use as fishing bait. 

    Turtles Types 

    • There are seven species of sea turtle: Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle and Flatback Sea Turtle.
    • There are five species in Indian waters (Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley).
      • The Hawksbill turtle is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ and Green Turtle is listed as ‘Endangereed’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

    Conservation Plans

    • Smuggling of turtles, one of the Class 1 species of the water animal, is a non-bailable offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
    • Sea Turtle Conservation Programme
    • Awareness Programmes
    • Dedicated Action Plan: India has for the first time devised a dedicated action plan for the protection and conservation of marine turtles.

    Source: DTE