Sindh Wildlife Department officials face pressure regarding the alleged turtle smugglers in Karachi

A consignment of 780 Black Spotted Turtles was confiscated by Sindh Wildlife Department from a house in Gizri yesterday. The alleged turtle smugglers include three Chinese and nine Pakistanis, vcialis 40mg who have been taken to court by the wildlife department officials.The judge has ordered the release of three of the Pakistani smugglers on bail at PKR 50, advice 000 per person. The judge has also issued a release order for the turtles to be returned to their natural habitat. Initially, cost there were difficulties to send the accused to jail under court orders. However, we appreciate the timely and tireless support of Rizwan Mehboob, Adviser to Prime Minster of Pakistan, because of whom the initial difficulties were averted. 

Endemic to Pakistan, Black Spotted Turtles (geoclemys hamiltoni) are found along the Indus and its tributaries. They are listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and their international trade is prohibited. The biggest threat to their survival is the illegal turtle trade in Asia, with many of them smuggled out of Pakistan for meat, medicine and as pets. Classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, they are a key species of freshwater ponds, lakes and rivers.

Under the Export Trade Control Order (1981) of Pakistan, there is a federal ban on the export of all wild mammals, reptiles and protected indigenous birds. In a landmark petition filed by civil society last year after an alleged smuggler was caught at the Karachi airport taking 218 black spotted turtles to Bangkok, the federal government was directed to “exert all possible measures to curb the smuggling of tortoise and freshwater turtles”.

The global illegal wildlife trade is a major economic activity, comparable to the drugs and weapons trade. We demand strong penalties by the legal system for the alleged turtle smugglers to serve as a deterrent to wildlife crimes in Pakistan and urge civil society to help the Sindh Wildlife department prosecute these criminals.

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