KOLKATA: Turtle Ltd is keen to extend a helping hand to the turtles that were sighted at Rabindra Sarobar recently. The Howrah-based men’s apparel company that has been associated with turtle conservation projects for nearly a decade has experts on board who can assist the turtles abandoned at Rabindra Sarobar to adapt to the new environment and feel secure about it.

Speaking to TOI, Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, promoter and managing director of the premium menswear and accessories company, said it was fortunate that members of the birding community and nature lovers spotted the turtles instead of poachers and that Turtle Ltd was ready to help the local community manage the turtles.

“Our corporate social responsibility team will get in touch with the birders and lake authorities to help chalk out an action plan for the turtles,” he said.

Shailendra Singh, country director of Turtle Survival Alliance that works on fresh water turtle conservation and is currently associated with Turtle Ltd’s CSR activity, said the turtles that were found in Rabindra Sarobar could survive in the lake’s standing water without trouble.

“The Indian roofed turtles eat vegetation, shrimps and small fish. The Indian flapshell and Indian softshell turtles are carnivorous. They should have no problem thriving in a sprawling lake. Since they are cold blooded animals, they need to bask in the sun. If floating log platforms are set up close to the place they are currently inhabiting, they will use them as basking platforms and also be sighted by children and animal lovers,” said Singh.

While the turtles are best left undisturbed, creating interest among children and other regulars at the lake is important to keep them safe. “Poachers are the biggest threat to turtles. The Indian roofed turtle are trapped for display in aquarium. The Indian softshell turtle is dried and smuggled to South-East Asia via Bangladesh for use as medicine. The India flapshell turtle is consumed. Hence, there’s a need for vigilance. So long as they are visible and become popular among children and walkers at the lake, they will not be touched,” he said.

Turtle Ltd director Shitanshu Jhunjhunwala, who has been overseeing turtle conservation activities for the past six years (first with Wildlife Society of Orissa that works on endangered Olive Ridley — a brackish water turtle — and now with the Lucknow-based TSA), felt the turtles could easily become a major draw for children this winter.

“Turtles are lovable creatures. Children are fascinated by them. The turtles at Rabindra Sarobar could become the star attraction, especially for kids,” he said.

Source: TOI-Kol