Indian authorities rescued more than 6,000 turtles from a local smuggler in one of the country’s largest wildlife seizures.
Rahul Srivastav of Uttar Pradesh Police Special Task Force shared photos of the thousands of soft shell and flap shell turtles rescued in the town of Amethi.
The 6,430 endangered turtles, protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, were discovered stuffed inside of sacks and on the ground during a raid of the alleged smuggler’s home.
One person was arrested while two others escaped and the turtles are awaiting a court order from the Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttar Pradesh to return to their natural habitat.
“The turtles are currently kept under observation,” Chief Wildlife Warden Umendra Sharma said. “We will release the turtles back into the wild once we receive a court order.”
Wildlife SOS CEO Kartick Satyanarayan thanked the Special Task Force for their help and offered to rehabilitate the turtles.
“We commend the STF for intercepting this consignment. We have offered our assistance to the Chief Wildlife Warden to help rehabilitate these turtles and place them back in the wild,” Satyanarayan said. “Mostly traded for body parts believed to have medicinal properties, these turtles are protected under Indian law.”