Updated: May 24, 2021 11:03:30 pm
THE STATE forest department in Jalgaon district recovered the carcasses of at least 48 Indian flapshell turtles from an under-construction aqueduct in Asoda village on Sunday.
While post-mortem of the turtles is underway, department officials said the creatures had most likely died of heatstroke. The post-mortem report is likely to be available by Tuesday.
Locals from Asoda village complained about the incident, where the construction work is underway to provide an irrigation channel from Waghur dam to agricultural fields in Mamurabad village in the district. A seasonal stream, known as the Lavki nullah, was temporarily diverted by the contractor to lay the main water pipeline.
A biodiversity register, prepared at the village level under the mandate of the Biodiversity Act, 2002, has previously documented the presence of these freshwater turtles in the nullah.
The locals said once the stream was diverted, the turtles living there came into the aqueducts of the main pipeline, which is being built adjacent to the stream. “These are metal pipes, which absorb a lot of heat. Since there was no mud or water, it is possible that the turtles died of heat. The pipes were being welded together, which may have led to this,” said Vivek Hoshing, deputy forest conservator, Jalgaon.
Flapshell turtles are categorised as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red-list of globally threatened species, indicating that they are “facing a high risk of extinction in the wild”.
However, the state forest department has not registered an offence, under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, citing that the Indian flapshell turtle is not protected under the law.
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