Mumbai: Wildlife activists look for Bandra turtle poachers

Jun 27, 2018, 10:05 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Two men spotted snatching a hawksbill sea turtle from Bandra's Bandstand in broad daylight; officials state the suspects released it back into the sea

Mumbai: Wildlife activists look for Bandra turtle poachers
An eyewitness sent mid-day these pictures of the poachers snatching the turtle at Bandstand

Wildlife activists are casting their net far and wide in search of two unidentified poachers who trapped a hawksbill sea turtle from Bandra Bandstand.

On Tuesday morning, a citizen on his way to work spotted the two crooks taking the turtle away in a net. He asked them to release the creature back into the sea, but they paid no heed. He immediately called Pawan Sharma, honorary wildlife warden of Thane and founder of the NGO RAWW. "We got a call on our helpline from a local informing us about the turtle. As it is a Schedule-I species, I alerted the Mangroves Cell of the forest department and forwarded pictures of the duo."

N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, instructed his team to go to the spot and search for the duo. Sunish Subramanian Kunju, honorary wildlife warden of Mumbai city, also arrived there with his volunteers, but the crooks were long gone. Sunish has circulated pictures of the duo in various WhatsApp groups, asking locals to help identify them.

He said, "Their faces and the location is clearly seen in the picture, so the Mangroves Cell and local police should find the culprits." Released into sea? Prashant Deshmukh, range forest officer (RFO), said, "We have visited the spot and recorded the statements of eyewitnesses, who told us they saw the duo releasing the turtle back into the sea."

The hawksbill turtle is protected under Schedule I (Part II) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It is among several species found along the west coast between Mumbai and Dahanu, such as olive ridley turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle and green sea Turtle.

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