Tortoise and fresh water turtle has always been big names in illegal wildlife trading and India is not an exception with about 10,000 of them poached and traded for medicine, food and as pet every year. The TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring group has come out with this startling revelation in their latest report.
As per their ten year analysis from 2009, TRAFFIC says that about 1,11,312 tortoises and freshwater turtles were traded. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh forms the major chunk of the business with 60 per cent of all the seizures reported from these two states. Kerala, Tami l Nadu, Bihar, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are the other major states where this trade is in full swing.
The report also notes that the region of Jharkhand, Telangana, AndhraPradesh and West Bengal would either be transit point or collection centre for the illegal trade as the number of seizure was high in this region.
Indian Star Tortoise was the most traded of the tortoise and turtle category. They formed about 48 per cent of all the seizures. Twnety six per cent of Indian Softshell Turtle, 15 per cent of Indian Flapshell Turtle and nine per cent of Black spotted or Spotted Pond Turtle are the next in line to have been done in this illegal business.
The report also says that 37,404 exotic turtles of six different species were also seized in the country, which showed the intensity of the trade flourishing here. In this category, the Red-eared Slider is the one that is bred or brought in India for pet trade.
In India, 28 species of tortoises and freshwater turtles have been found. This also includes five Marine Turtles. Of the 28 species, 23 of them are seen in northeast India. Tortoise and turtles are protected in India under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. While Seventeen species are listed in Schedule I, one is included in Schedule II and five comes under Schedule IV.