An Indian flapshell turtle was rescued from Chirag Enclave in the national capital, a wildlife body said Saturday.
The Indian flapshell turtle (LissemysPunctata) is a freshwater species found in South Asia. It is listed under Schedule (I) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and thereby, is granted the same level of protection as the tiger.
Poaching or possession of any protected wildlife species and the illegal trade of their body parts is a criminal offence leading to imprisonment of between three to seven years.
Elaborating about the rescue, Wildlife SoS said while out for a walk, a concerned animal lover chanced upon a suspicious looking man who was clutching onto what appeared to be a small animal in his hands.
The organisation said as he approached the man to take a closer look, he discovered that it was a flapshell turtle.
On being interrogated the individual fled the scene, leaving the turtle behind. Wildlife SOS was immediately alerted and the reptile is currently under the temporary care of the organisation, it said.
Flapshell turtles are poached extensively for meat, considered a delicacy in some parts of Southeast Asia. The body parts of these reptiles are also sold illegally due to their supposed aphrodisiacal properties and for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
“It is a commonly misguided belief that turtle shells possess medicinal and healing properties, and that consuming the shell can cure tuberculosis and various skin diseases. However, there is no scientific and medical proof to support such claims,” Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO Wildlife SOS, said.