While India Is On Lockdown, Olive Ridley Turtles Start Nesting On Odisha Coast

From pollution levels reducing drastically to now marine life being able to breathe in peace, it seems like the coronavirus lockdown is seriously helping nature recoup.

TWITTER/@_HARIKRISHNAN_S

Olive Ridley sea turtles have come ashore for mass nesting at the six-kilometre-long Rushikulya beach of Odisha’s Ganjam district in the last five days and it’s owing to the coronavirus lockdown.

These rare sea turtles are renowned for their mass nesting and come to Indian shores and Odisha’s coast every nesting season; the areas are their largest nesting site in the region. According to the Odisha Wildlife Organisation ( OWO), nearly 50 per cent of the world population of these rare turtles come to Odisha’s coast for nesting.

On March 22 at around 2 am, 2,000 female Olive Ridleys started coming out of the sea to the beach, Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Amlan Nayak, told The Hindu. 

Ankit Kumar, IFS@AnkitKumar_IFS

ARRIBADA ~Spanish Word – means ‘Arrival’ 🐢
Refers to mass-nesting event when 1000s of Turtles come ashore at the same time to lay eggs on the same beach.
Interestingly, females return to the very same beach from where they first hatched, to lay their eggs.
🏖️ Olive Ridley Turtle

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NC animal rescue group wants your old bra to help save injured turtles

By Amanda Foster  |

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – It sounds bizarre, but it’s also true. The clips on the backs of bras can save a turtle.

It sounds bizarre, but it’s also true. The clips on the backs of bras can save a turtle. (Carolina Waterfowl Rescue)

“It acts like a little fixator, it’s the eyelets that we need,” Keenan Freitas at the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue says.

The group, you could say, is after your unused unmentionables. These are the same people who spend most of their time among a team of injured turtles.

“80 percent of them are hit by cars,” Freitas says. “The other five percent are hit by boats, the remaining are environmental.”

When these sometimes shattered shells come in, they’re not in good shape, and in the summer, there are quite a bit more of them.

“It’s when it rains,” Freitas says. “That’s when they’re moving to lay eggs, so when it rains, we get a ton of turtles in.”

The team repairs the reptiles using some expected instruments like glue, and a little tape.

And, bra clasps.

“It’s just these little ingenious things that people have created in the past, that we can use today to help animals out,” Freitas says.

The wire that holds the broken portions of shell together is fastened to the turtle with these things that usually might lock together lingerie.

“You basically wire the shell back together,” Freitas says.

It’s affordable for this nonprofit – and sustainable.

“You can recycle something that would go into a landfill,” Freitas says. “And I mean, they’re helping a turtle. Who wouldn’t want to help a turtle?”

Freitas says when it’s time to release the reptiles back into the wild, they wear the glue down a little, the clasps pop right off, and they’re good as new.

Donations can be sent to the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue at P.O. Box 1484 in Indian Trail NC 28079

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Read the original version of this article at wbtv.com.

UK government directs £4.6 million to tackling illegal wildlife trade

LIFE 22 April 2019
turtle shells

Can we halt the trade?

AP/Shutterstock

The UK government has announced it will provide £4.6 million in funding for projects tackling illegal wildlife trade around the world. They include efforts to stop smuggling in Madagascar, to disrupt the grey parrot trade in Cameroon and to reduce demand for marine turtle products in Nicaragua.

The global trade in illegal wildlife products is estimated to be worth between 7 and 23 billion US dollars a year. It is responsible for putting species such as pangolinsrhinos and tigers in danger of extinction.

The UK has pledged to spend £36 million to fight illegal wildlife trade between 2014 and 2021. The new projects are among a series of actions to emerge from a major conference held in London last October.

“The Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund is backing projects that will tackle the criminals at source and in countries that are destinations for items made from illegally traded plants and animals,” environment minister Thérèse Coffey said in a statement.

The government is also drawing on expertise in behaviour change science to recommend the most effective approaches to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, such as environmental education and social marketing.

Another initiative, the Wildlabs Tech Hub, has brought together conservationists and engineers to develop new technological tools to combat wildlife crime, with support from Google and Arm.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see efforts under way to address key drivers of illegal wildlife trade, in particular to tackle illicit financial flows,” says Richard Thomas of Traffic, an NGO focusing on global wildlife trade.

Two issues that require more attention are corruption – a key facilitator of wildlife crime – and cybercrime, Thomas says. “The latter is a rising threat, in part because of successful efforts in shutting down physical market places, which has led to more transactions going online where they are more difficult to regulate.”

Last Female of World’s Rarest Turtle Species Dies in China Zoo

Booming black market for deadly snakes and exotic turtles puts animals in peril

By Sammy Fretwell The State (Columbia, S.C.) Jul 31, 2018 Updated 4 hrs ago (0)
Exotic animals
An Asian Box Turtle peers from its enclosure at the Turtle Survival Center. The South Carolina preserve protects some of the world’s most endangered turtles.

Tracy Glantz / The State

COLUMBIA, S.C. —The death of Freddie “Snakeman” Herman was unsettling enough for criminal investigators when they arrived at his ramshackle mobile home on a steamy morning last summer.

Herman’s body lay on the ground, lifeless from gunshot wounds. Flies swarmed in the yard, leaving little doubt Herman had been dead for hours.

But as they surveyed the murder scene in Chesterfield County, investigators learned that Herman was more than the victim of a domestic homicide. He was an international wildlife dealer they knew nothing about in a state where black market animal sales are quietly growing.

Snakes writhed in Herman’s trailer and turtles splashed in backyard holding ponds, apparently awaiting shipment. On Herman’s computer, state natural resources investigators found electronic messages with mysterious wildlife brokers, as well as $76,000 in an account that they believe was filled with the proceeds of animal sales.

The discovery provided a new window into South Carolina’s illicit and loosely regulated wildlife trade, a shadowy but lucrative industry that is imperiling native species, threatening to spread disease and attracting crooks to the Palmetto State.

And it’s all happening in a state with limited ability to deal with the problem.

Wild animals, particularly reptiles, are being cruelly packaged in tiny cartons and shipped overseas, many dying en route because they have no food or water. Other animals collected for sale in South Carolina are beginning to dwindle in their native environments, which could upset the balance of nature in swamps and woodlands across the state.

Reptiles, including dangerous snakes and rare turtles, often sought as food or exotic pets, are the major concern. But state investigators also are worried about the sale of disease-carrying hogs and deer, rare fish, and black bear parts such as gallbladders and paws.

“It’s significant,” state wildlife agency spokesman Robert McCullough said of the illegal and loosely regulated wildlife trade. “There is enough going on out there to cause us concern.”

Some dealers are trading native wildlife without getting caught because the state lacks officers. In Herman’s case, state investigators say they were stunned to learn the extent of his operation in Chesterfield County.

Other dealers are legally selling animals, such as highly venomous snakes, that could not be easily sold in other states with stricter wildlife laws.

A recent South Carolina Department of Natural Resources report said the agency is seeing an increase in people from other states bringing reptiles to South Carolina, then exporting them, because of the state’s limited wildlife laws. The agency also is seeing evidence that more people are trapping turtles and other reptiles for resale to other states, the report said.

It’s a significant enough issue that the DNR has assigned a handful of undercover agents to investigate illicit wildlife trading, even as state policymakers consider ways to strengthen minimal wildlife laws and provide more staff members to catch rogue animal dealers.

Wildlife traffickers get involved in the business because of the world’s insatiable demand for animals and the profits dealers can make when they sell wildlife. In a single year, some dealers have reportedly made
$100,000 selling turtles, snakes and other reptiles.

Unlike in many states, it’s legal in South Carolina to buy a venomous cobra at a wildlife show or collect hundreds of turtles for potential sale to pet traders in Asia. It’s legal to buy a camel or porcupine at an animal auction with relatively few restrictions. And it’s legal for a handful of people to harvest rare baby eels, which can fetch $2,000 per pound in Asia.

Chad Welch, an investigator with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said South Carolina’s lack of wildlife trading laws sometimes encourages illicit importing of wildlife into Georgia, where restrictions on reptile sales are stronger.

“It’s easier to acquire wild animals when you can take a couple of hours’ drive to South Carolina, buy them and bring them right back,” he said.

Recently, a Florida man with a criminal record received permission from Georgia authorities to import 220 highly venomous snakes from Africa through the Atlanta airport — if he agreed to ship them to South Carolina within 24 hours after they landed. The shipment, coming from a contact in North Ghana, included spitting cobras and Gaboon vipers, toxic snakes popular in the reptile trade. The man planned to sell them here.

In another recently publicized case, a major player in an international turtle-trafficking scheme pleaded guilty in federal court to wildlife charges after admitting he was shipping and receiving highly endangered turtles from his home in South Carolina. State authorities say loopholes in state wildlife laws made it easier for him to operate out of his house in Holly Hill.

According to an internal Department of Natural Resources report, South Carolina is one of five states with few or no laws regulating the ownership and sale of reptiles. The report says wildlife traders are slippery, well-connected and hard to catch.

“Many of the exporters operate in multiple states,” says the DNR report.
“They will set up multiple residences or change residences often in states with lax reptile laws. They have a network of collectors who collect with or for them to fulfill orders. They communicate better than we do.”

According to the DNR’s internal report, the Herman investigation revealed new ways that wildlife traders communicate and how they are paid for selling animals on the black market.

The DNR, for instance, says Herman was using an internet chatroom for video game enthusiasts to communicate with a wildlife buyer.
Correspondence found on Herman’s computer shows that he was discussing the price of reptiles and how they could be exported to Europe.

“In Germany and France, they pay $800 to $1,200 per pair,” the chatroom note said. In the five months prior to his death, Herman received at least 11 Western Union payments from Hong Kong totaling $19,000, according to information the DNR obtained through the investigation. The agency said he was known at a Florence mailing center for regularly shipping packages filled with small animals.

A DNR informant, who asked not be named because he deals with wildlife traffickers, said he routinely gets text messages from Asian buyers seeking turtles.

In a string of texts obtained by The State newspaper, a buyer said he wanted 10 turtles shipped through Chicago, where he had friends. The potential buyer at one point suggested having the turtles shipped through Massachusetts and Florida, but the informant said “No, lol, they will put you in jail” in the Sunshine State, according to the string of texts.

Weak state laws in South Carolina encourage the growth of illegal dealing by making it easier for people to amass large numbers of animals for sale on the black market.

That’s particularly true with reptiles. While the state restricts the export of many types of turtles, the law doesn’t restrict people from owning as many of those species as they want, said Will Dillman, an agency reptile biologist and assistant wildlife chief.

Some out-of-state turtle trappers bring their catch to South Carolina and keep animals here until they can resell them to other countries — a practice called “turtle laundering.” Turtles are important to the environment because they spread seeds that lead to plant growth and make dens that can be used by other animals. They also are vital to keeping ponds clean because they scavenge for dead fish and other animals in the water.

Many of the wildlife cases made in South Carolina are brought by the federal government, which has more consistent and stricter laws than states do. But federal prosecutors have more than their share of cases that take a higher priority than wildlife crimes.

Some counties and cities in South Carolina, including the city of Columbia and Richland County, have exotic pet laws that limit venomous snake ownership and sales. But others do not. That allows wildlife shows to set up shop in counties like Lexington and sell venomous reptiles.

“We have a patchwork of different state laws on some species,” said Iris Ho, a senior wildlife policy specialist with the Humane Society International. “Something could be protected in one state, but not in another, like South Carolina.”

Law enforcement authorities have said some restrictions are needed because drug dealers sometimes also trade in wildlife. In some cases, when officers show up for a drug bust, they have run into dangerous reptiles, authorities say.

Some legitimate wildlife dealers say they could support stricter state oversight of some types of wildlife dealing to weed out the shady businesses that give their industry a bad name.

“There are a lot of weird people importing stuff they ain’t supposed to be importing,” wildlife dealer Jonathan McMillan said during a break in a June 9 Repticon wildlife show at the Greenville Shrine Club. “They’re out catching things just to catch them and they are shipping stuff out that is not supposed to be shipped out of the country. There are a couple of bad apples.”

South Carolina’s issues with wildlife trafficking are a piece of a global problem that generates up to $20 billion in sales annually, according to the Humane Society International. Everything from elephant tusks to turtle meat can be found on the international black market.

Reptiles are the biggest wildlife commodity being moved illegally in the Southeast, largely because the area has such a rich diversity of the animals — and many of them, like turtles, are easy to catch, experts say.

Depending on the species, a single turtle can fetch upwards of $10,000 on the black market in Asia. Rattlesnakes from South Carolina can easily sell for $200 in places like New York, where collectors seek exotic animals, according to the S.C. DNR.

That translates to a nice income for some traders. In one case, a Holly Hill man with an extensive criminal record from wildlife trading earned more than $100,000 one year, according to a neighbor and law enforcement authorities.

Even people not involved in illegal wildlife trafficking say it’s common knowledge that selling reptiles is lucrative.

“It’s something everybody knows you can make good money on,” said Daniel Bibby, an Orangeburg County resident who lives next door to Steven Baker, a wildlife trader with a history of violations.

Some species that once were nearly worthless have soared to thousands of dollars apiece, only to fall again once the thrill of owning that species has waned, said Jordan Gray, a spokesman for the Turtle Survival Alliance, an international reptile protection group headquartered in Charleston.

“The way turtles and tortoises go, it’s almost like clothing purchases for a season,” Gray said. “You see these fads.”

Black bear parts, such as skins, gallbladders and paws, also are highly sought after in some Asian countries for traditional medicines or as souvenirs. A bear gallbladder will reportedly sell for up to $3,000 in China, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In South Carolina, where bear hunting is legal, the DNR recently ticketed men in North Augusta and Spartanburg for trying to deal other bear parts.

In one of the cases, a suspect was trying to sell a bear skin, with the claws attached, for about $1,800, a law enforcement source said. After he was ticketed, the man suspected of trying to sell the bear skin said “‘Thanks,’ then three days later, he had posted it up for sale again,”
the law enforcement source told The State.

The other bear case included the sale of skulls, claws and other parts, which were offered for sale for about $10,500, according to the DNR.

Illegally harvesting baby eels for sale to Asia landed three South Carolina men in hot water two years ago after federal investigators discovered they had trafficked more than $740,000 worth of the eels. All three pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act, a federal law that governs illegal wildlife trafficking. South Carolina grants 10 permits for people to harvest the little eels, making any other harvest illegal.

While South Carolina law offers few limits on the sale of dangerous snakes and many types of reptiles, the state does have stronger laws to control the trade in other species, such as wild hogs and deer, according to the DNR. The Legislature also recently banned the ownership and sale of big exotic cats, such as African lions and American cougars, as well as chimpanzees and non-native bears.

But it’s not hard to break state laws and get away with it because of limited state resources, DNR spokesman McCullough said.

Trucks filled with hogs sometimes sneak across the state line because South Carolina doesn’t have enough wildlife officers to stop the movement, McCullough and DNR big game coordinator Charles Ruth said. The pigs are usually headed to hunting preserves to give shooters a better chance at bagging a hog. Unfortunately, some of the pigs escape and are adding to the state’s wild hog problem, according to the DNR.

The agency needs more than 300 officers, but today has 265, McCullough said. Its special investigative unit has six agents who also investigate wildlife crimes aside from illegal trading.

Sometimes, the DNR does catch people trying to bring in hogs. Last fall, the agency arrested a Georgia man for illegally importing 10 wild pigs to Edgefield County. He was found guilty in magistrate’s court in December, records show.

The illegal and loosely regulated wildlife trade affects South Carolina both in what is being brought here, and what is being shipped to overseas markets.

Among the native animals in peril are box turtles and spotted turtles — rare reptiles with fragile populations that scientists say are harder to find today than in years past.

Turtles are being shipped to China and other Asian countries, where many native reptiles have disappeared, to be used as pets or food. Scientists are particularly worried about what appear to be dwindling turtle populations in an area between Orangeburg and Walterboro, where many people busted for wildlife crimes operate.

“We know there are people out there collecting,” former DNR biologist Bennett said. “But there’s not always a way to enforce things, to check up on these people. If you happen to catch one occasionally, that’s fine.”

http://www.sentinelsource.com/hub/petsanimals/animal_news/booming-black-market-for-deadly-snakes-and-exotic-turtles-puts/article_4cfedc07-7e51-543f-a947-a23a98ccef72.html

Texas Proposes Ending Unsustainable Commercial Wild Turtle Trapping

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2018/texas-wild-turtle-trapping-03-21-2018.php

AUSTIN, Texas— In response to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and several Texas-based conservation organizations, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission today approved publication of a proposed rule that would prohibit commercial collection of the state’s wild turtles.

“We’re so grateful these badly needed protections for Texas’ rare, native turtles are moving forward,” said Jenny Loda, a Center attorney and biologist who works to protect vulnerable reptiles and amphibians. “For-profit collectors shouldn’t be allowed to put the state’s turtles at risk of extinction.”

Texas is the latest in a growing list of states — including Missouri, New York and Iowa — that have put an end to unlimited commercial collection of freshwater turtles.

Under current Texas law, unlimited collection of four native, freshwater turtle species is allowed on private property: common snapping turtles, red-eared sliders, smooth softshells and spiny softshells.

Texas modified its regulations in 2007 to protect freshwater turtles from collection on the state’s public lands and waters. But this only resulted in protections for turtles in 2.2 percent of the water bodies in Texas. Recent studies concluded that current turtle collection in Texas is likely not sustainable.

At today’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting, staff from the state Parks and Wildlife Department presented their findings based on a review of the petition, along with scientific literature and the department’s own data. Department staff determined that there is sufficient scientific justification to prohibit the commercial collection of the common snapping turtle, red-eared slider, smooth softshell and spiny softshell.

Department officials further explained that turtles are among the nongame species of greatest concern in Texas. Turtles’ slow reproduction makes it unlikely that populations can remain stable when high numbers of adults and older juveniles are steadily removed from a population.

“This is great news for Texas’ freshwater turtles as commercial trapping is devastating to turtle populations that are already suffering from multiple other threats, including habitat loss, water pollution and vehicular collisions,” said Evelyn Merz, conservation chair for the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter. “We hope that the state will finalize the proposed rule and ban commercial turtle trapping; otherwise, Texas’ turtle populations will continue to plummet.”

The petition that spurred today’s action was submitted last year by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, Texas Rivers Protection Association and Texas Snake Initiative.

Background
Millions of turtles classified as wild-caught are exported from the United States every year to supply food and medicinal markets in Asia, where native turtle populations have already been depleted by soaring consumption. Because turtles bioaccumulate toxins from prey and burrow in contaminated sediment, turtle meat is often laced with mercury, PCBs and pesticides, posing a health risk. Adult turtles are also taken from the wild to breed hatchlings for the international pet trade.

As part of a campaign to protect turtles in the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity has been petitioning states that allow unrestricted commercial turtle collection to improve their regulations. Earlier this month, in response to a Center petition, the Missouri Department of Conservation banned commercial collection of the state’s wild freshwater turtles. In September of last year, Nevada created a statewide ban on the destructive commercial collection of all reptiles and New York halted all commercial terrapin turtle harvesting.

Before that, in March 2017, Iowa adopted new regulations setting closed seasons and possession limits for commercial turtle trappers. In 2012 Georgia approved state rules regulating the commercial collection of turtles, and Alabama completely banned commercial collection. And in 2009 Florida responded by banning almost all commercial collection of freshwater turtles from public and private waters.

Texas is in a regional hotspot for commercial turtle collectors, and reform is needed. If the state ends commercial collection within its borders, adjacent states would likely follow its example; the region would be better equipped to protect its turtle populations by making clear to turtle traders that trade is strictly regulated and enforced.

The Center recently petitioned for a ban on unlimited commercial trapping in ArkansasLouisiana  and Oklahoma, three states that share a border with Texas.

Texas spiny softshell turtle

Texas spiny softshell turtle photo by Gary M. Stolz, USFWS. This image is available for media use.

Illegal trade of turtles destablising Pakistan’s ecological system

By Sana Saif
Published: November 7, 2017

The turtles are being illegally exported to China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, as they are eaten or used for medicinal purposes and in the preparation of artificial jewellery. PHOTO: FILE

The turtles are being illegally exported to China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, as they are eaten or used for medicinal purposes and in the preparation of artificial jewellery. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:
The illegal trade of endangered turtles might be a lucrative industry but it is upsetting the natural order of Pakistan’s wildlife environment.

These turtles are a natural filter and key components of eradicating water pollution as well as various bacteria which is harmful for human health. But, due to the illegal trafficking, they are disappearing from Pakistan fast.

The turtles are being illegally exported to China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, as they are eaten or used for medicinal purposes and in the preparation of artificial jewellery.
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A turtle bought for a mere Rs200 is being sold after being smuggled to the aforementioned countries for a whopping Rs150,000, which amounts to $1,500. The wildlife department’s poor performance can be gauged by the low number of cases registered in the last 10 years against the smugglers, which stands at 69.

These turtles can be found in wetlands, such as lakes, rivers and ponds, and are crucial in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem as they prey on plants that grow underwater, small insects, snails, worms, and dead marine animals and fish, clearing water bodies of germs and harmful bacteria.

The Chinese are reportedly associated with the turtle trafficking business in Pakistan. Influential Chinese at the helm of some Pakistan-China projects are alleged to be directly involved in the bootlegging of turtles.

49 turtles confiscated from Burnes Road aquariums

On August 18, 2014, a consignment of 229 black-spotted turtles was seized at the Pakistan-China border. A month later, on September 20, 2014, a shipment of 218 black-spotted turtles was seized at the Karachi airport. On the same day, 230 Pakistani black pond turtles were caught at a hospital in Karachi.

A couple of years later, on April 7, 2016, 62 turtles, tightly wrapped in a curtain, were seized in Shanti Nagar by the Karachi police. Of these turtles, 49 died. On April 28, 2016, 170 black-spotted turtles were seized from the Super Highway. On September 10, 2016, a shipment of
780 black-spotted turtles was recovered from Defence Housing Authority in Karachi.

Survey results

In 2003, the Sindh wildlife department, in coordination with the zoological survey department of Pakistan, conducted a survey to collect data on turtles in the Indus River. The survey concentrated on the waters linking Sukkur Barrage, Guddu Barrage and Jamal Din, as well as the waters around Kandhkot. Another survey was conducted just two years later, in 2005, and two species, Pangshura Smithii and Chitra Indica, which were included in the previous survey results, were missing from the results of the second survey.

Malaysia seizes smuggled tortoises worth $300,000

In 2009, reports showed the Indus River was home to eight species of turtles. However, by 2012, there were just three types of species left, which included two hard-shelled spotted pond and Indian roofed turtles and one soft shelled peacock turtle.

Data collected in 2014 found that the soft shelled Indian flap shell turtles were the highest in number among other species of turtles, but sadly, a 2015 survey reported that this species had gone missing. In 2016, some surveys argued that all sweet water turtles’ existence was endangered.

From 2006 to 2008, the wildlife department registered 22 cases of illegal smuggling of turtles from various cities such as Sukkur, Rohri, Ghotki, Pannu Aqil, Abro, Guddu, Kashmore and Kandhkot. Between 2009 and 2014, 37 smugglers were arrested in Sukkur, Khairpur, Dokri, Kashmore, Kamber-Shahdadkot, Guddu and Larkana for the illegal trade of turtles.
Likewise, from 2014 to 2017, nine cases were registered in connection with the illegal smuggling of black spotted turtles.

‘Karachi biggest market for endangered species’

Before 2007, sweet water turtles in Pakistan were not included in the endangered species list, but now, they are considered an endangered species in all provinces of the country. In 2014, the Sindh government added eight species of turtles in ‘Sindh’s Most Endangered Wildlife Species’ list. The turtles located in the waters on either side of the Indus River (till the Kotri Barrage) are the prime targets and prey of the smuggling mafia.

Initially, the process of fishing out these turtles was done by amateurs, but it is now being done by expert fishermen and locals who specialise in this type of fishing. Turtles weighing between two grammes and two kilogrammes are caught and sold to a middleman for Rs200 to Rs500.

The clearing and forwarding expenses at the airport have seen a significant rise in their price and these turtles can cost up to Rs4,000.

Therefore, each shipment’s cost may vary between Rs1.2 million and Rs1.5 million and includes 200 to 250 units. The demand for these turtles in the international market is great, with each unit costing around $1,500.
Hence, a smuggler gets a hefty return on his ‘investment’ per shipment.
Barely one in five smugglers is caught by the authorities and even if they are caught, they get out of it by paying a minimal fine.

Wildlife dept recovers eight endangered falcons

The demand for black spotted turtles in China is very high as they are considered a symbol of good luck by people who keep the turtles in their homes. Chinese and Taiwanese pharmaceutical companies also use the turtles for medicinal purposes. These turtles are also used for making jewellery and leather as well as trinkets for tourists.

The chief controller of the Sindh wildlife department, Saeed Baloch, said that officials of the department recently recovered 68 soft-shelled Chitra Indica turtles from the Karachi airport. Their insides were dried up and ready for smuggling. An FIR was registered against the smugglers and they were fined Rs5.44 million, according to the Sindh Turtles and Tortoise Protection, Conservation Act, 2015. The Sindh government also seized two bags worth of smuggled turtles in 2015. Each bag carried 218 turtles.

Baloch also said that people in interior Sindh catch turtles due to poverty, lack of education and unemployment, as it is a lucrative business. A joint operation of the federal and provincial governments, along with law enforcement agencies will soon be launched against the smuggling mafia.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1551425/1-illegal-trade-turtles-destablising-pakistans-ecological-system/

5 Reasons Not to Eat Fish

Sea Lion Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Sea Lion Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

5. Seals and sea lions are scapegoated and shot by commercial fishermen and their lackeys who blame the marine mammals for dwindling fish populations. It’s the same “all here for us” mentality that ranchers and trophy hunters use to justify killing wolves.

 

Painting by  Barry K. MacKay

Painting by Barry K. MacKay

4. Cormorants are culled by the thousands, by both commercial and sport fishing interests unwilling to share “their” resources. Last April, sport fishermen in South Carolina shot over 11,000 cormorants for the crime of eating fish; and the U.S. Government is currently planning $1.5 million-a-year program that would arm federal trappers with silenced rifles and night-vision scopes to shoot thousands of Columbia River cormorants during their nesting season .

 

Featured Image -- 62263. Live fish sequester carbon. The sea absorbs about half of the billions of tons of CO2 humans produce…, but only if there’s plenty of phytoplankton, fish and other organisms living in it.

 

imagesH3BR7A8G

2. Bykill, including pelagic sea birds, turtles, marine mammals, and non-target fish species, accounts for 50% or more of some fisheries’ take. Many fisheries around the world throw away more fish than they keep.

 

 

images1. Fish are sentient beings too, no less deserving of compassion than any other species humans claim as their food. Flying in the face of what is considered popular opinion, fish have good memories, build complicated structures and show behaviour seen in primates – as well as feel pain like any other vertebrates.