Karachi: Bid to smuggle out turtle meat foiled
KARACHI: The Sindh Wildlife Department has foiled a bid to smuggle dried meat of freshwater turtles out of the country and arrested the trafficker.
Freshwater turtles are an endangered species and protected under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance and trapping and netting of, or trading in these turtles and their body parts is banned under the law.
The wildlife trafficker, Imdad Mumtaz, was held by the Sukkur wildlife staff from Saifullah Canal near Garhi Khairo on Friday and dried meat of freshwater turtle in his possession had been seized by the relevant officials. It is worth noting that this is the 22nd such incident since September 2006 in which the poacher or the trafficker has been arrested and turtle meat has been confiscated.
Responding to Dawn’s queries the deputy conservator of the SWD Sukkur, Hussain Bakhsh Bhaagat, said that meat of freshwater turtles was considered to be a delicacy in the far eastern countries particularly in Japan, Korea and China where it fetched very high prices so the wildlife traffickers, with the help of poachers, caught the turtles from the Indus river and its tributaries in the upper Sindh and the lower Punjab.
He said that the traffickers mostly belonged to Punjab particularly Rahimyar Khan, Rajanpur and Lahore, while the poachers usually were locals.
The SWD official said that during the last couple of months two other illegal consignments of turtle meat, one from Ghotki kutcha area and the other from Murad Wah in Kashmore, had been confiscated.
It may be recalled that a couple of years back a huge quantity of frozen meat was caught by the customs official from a container at the Karachi port while in another incident a huge quantity of turtle meat was caught at the Karachi airport shortly before it was to be sent to the Far East.