Mumbai: NGO volunteer rescues softshell turtles from kids in Powai

Updated: Feb 17, 2020, 07:44 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

The turtles were rescued by chance when Savita Karalkar happened to see the kids while travelling

The rescued turtles with the safety pin that was embedded in the mouth of one of them
The rescued turtles with the safety pin that was embedded in the mouth of one of them

An alert volunteer of NGO Plant and Animals Welfare Society — Mumbai (PAWS-Mumbai) and Amma Care Foundation (ACF) managed to save two Indian softshell turtles in Powai from two kids on Sunday.

The turtles were rescued by chance when Savita Karalkar happened to see the kids while travelling. Karalkar was on a BEST bus near Powai lake when she saw them carrying the turtles. She immediately got off the bus and confronted them. Karalkar said, "I informed PAWS-Mumbai and the turtles were rescued."

Safety pin in oral cavity

The rescued turtles with the safety pin that was embedded in the mouth of one of them

One of the turtles had a safety pin embedded in its oral cavity, so both were taken to a veterinarian. "We recovered a plastic thread from the boys who claimed to have used it to catch fish. They said they accidentally caught the turtles. They told us they were going to keep them as pets," said Nisha Kunju who led the rescue operation. "The safety pin was removed from the turtle's mouth. The wound was cleaned with betadine lotion. No deep wound was observed inside the oral cavity. The turtle is feeding normally and all its activities were found to be normal," said veterinarian Dr Rahul Meshram.

Huge threat to wildlife

Speaking to mid-day, the Honorary Wildlife Warden of Mumbai city, Sunish Subramanian said, "Powai lake is very important because it is home to the Indian Marsh Crocodile apart from other important wildlife species. Illegal fishing in the area poses a threat to the rich biodiversity in the lake. I am writing a letter to our Range Forest Officer requesting that the Forest Department staff regularly patrol Powai lake."

He added that the Indian softshell turtle is a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, so it is an offence to hunt or keep it. 

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