KARACHI: The juvenile species of endangered green sea turtle are being solid in different markets in Karachi, Daily Times has learnt on Saturday.
The presence of recreational huts along the Sandspit beaches of Karachi, which is the breeding site of green sea turtles, stray dogs and crows, are posing serious threats to this endangered species of the sea turtles, but now illegall poaching is becoming another serious threat for the turtles. The poachers are selling juvenile green sea turtles into the market and despite being officially protected, the authorities of Sindh Wildlife Department have failed to protect the green sea turtles.
Renowned environmentalist and expert International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Commission on Ecosystem Management, Nadeem Mirbahar has witnessed the juvenile turtles being solid in different markets in Karachi.
"I visited Park Towers, a commercial shopping mall in the city, where I saw an aquarium shop was selling green sea turtles and I saw myself at least 8 juvenile green sea turtles inside that shop," Mirbahar told Daily Times.
However, officials of Sindh Wildlife Department, the official custodian of the wildlife in the province, rejected the information and said nowhere in the city, anyone is selling the green sea turtles.
"Yes, poaching of the green sea turtles are common along the beaches, as it is a huge beach and we cannot keep survilence everywhere, but I assured you that most of the people are taking the green sea turtles to keep it as a pet, but not selling it," said Saeed Akhtar Baloch Sindh Wildlife Department's provincial Conservator.
Talking about the Park Towers, aquarium, he said that wildlife department got the information of that certain shop and on enquiry, officials found that the shopkeeper had brought it from Thailand and has kept it just to get attention of the customers. "We have checked, the shopkeeper is not selling the turtles," said Baloch.
While, Mirbahar insisted that the said shop is selling the turtles. "When I asked, the shopkeeper said that each turtles has a price of Rs. 500 to Rs. 700 depends on its size," said Mirbahar.
The green turtle is the most common species found along the coast of Sindh and Balochistan, and females of this species visit sandy beaches along the Sindh's coast including Sandspit, Hawkesbay and Cape Monz and Balochistan's coasts including Sonmiani, Ormara, Astola Island, Daran and Jiwani.
Green Sea Turtles are declared as endangered species and is kept in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List and also it is protected under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which strictly bans the trading, poaching and selling of these species.
Despite, wildlife officials claim, that there is no trade of the green sea turtles, certain people are involved in this trade. It can be confirm from the recent event, in which officials of the Sindh Wildlife Department confiscated 40 green sea turtle hatchlings and 9 individuals of Indian flapshell turtles which were sold at two aquarium shops at a market on Burns Road. Later, wildlife officials released these turtles at Haleji Lake, Thatta.
"This indicates that people who access sandspits area collect these innocent babies and trade in market. It is really a disturbing scenario. On one hand we are struggling to conserve and protect these precious biodiversity resources and on other hand there is no one to look after and protect the prime habitats of these species or there is big gap which need immediate attention of conservation community," said Mirbahar.