Monday, May 3, 2010

Turtles’ genocide on the rise in Pakistan

Sarfraz Ali

The genocide of turtles in the waters of Sindh is on the rise, posing threat to the generation of this wildlife.
The turtles are being soled in the markets of Karachi at high prices as their demand is very high. The contractors in Karachi have set links to people in Lower Sindh for catch of turtle from waters.
The local people provide turtles to them at low prices, who sell them at high rates and thus are minting money.
It is reported that people catch turtles from canals and then keep them at their own water ponds for growth. The turtles are caught from Phuleli and other canals of Thatta, Hyderabad and Badin.
The Wildlife Department Sindh is not paying any heed for the protection of turtle generation in the lower Sindh. It is reported that these turtles are used for making medicines while people also eat their meat.
Two species of marine turtles nest on the Karachi coast, the green turtle (chelonia mydas) and the olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). The main threats are commercial trade in turtle skin, shell, medicines and cosmetics, and destruction of eggs by predators, especially feral domestic dogs.
Other dangers to turtles come from poachers, accidental capture in fishing nets, and extensive coastal development, which results in human disturbance at the nesting sites and pollution.
However, WWF-P is striving to protect endangered marine turtles and conserve their critical nesting sites. The many freshwater ponds and small lakes have dried in Sindh, decreasing the growth of turtles.
The threatened species of turtles are sold across Sindh as there are no checks to stop their illegal trade.
Furthermore, the flow of pollutants including industrial effluent in Keenjhar Lake also pose serious threat to turtles, therefore, urgent steps are required to be taken to conserve them.

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