New Delhi: India reiterated its commitment to conserving tortoises and freshwater turtles in the country, at a conference of the Parties (CoP 19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at Panama City.
India’s proposal for the induction of the freshwater turtle Batagur kachuga earned wide support from the parties in CoP 19 of CITES.
“It was widely appreciated by the parties and well accepted when introduced,” said the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Thursday.
CITES lauded and recorded the works done by India in the area of conservation of tortoises and freshwater turtles and efforts made in combating wildlife crime and the illegal trade of turtles in the country.
“The resolution documents submitted by the CITES Secretariat on tortoises and freshwater turtles specifically mentioned the commendable result achieved by the country in operations such as those initiated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau namely Operation Turtshield, which resulted in nabbing many criminals involved in poaching and illegal trade of freshwater turtles and substantial seizures made by the agencies in a different part of the country” the Ministry added.
India also highlighted that many of the species of turtles and freshwater tortoises which are recognized as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near threatened are already included in Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and given a high degree of protection.
India while intervening pressed upon that listing of many such species in CITES Appendix II will further enhance the protection of the species from getting indiscriminately and illegally traded worldwide.
At the CoP of CITES, also known as the World Wildlife Conference, all 184 Parties to CITES have the right to attend, to put forward proposals for the Conference to consider and vote on all decisions.
Around 52 proposals have been put forward so far that would affect the regulations on international trade for sharks, reptiles, hippos, songbirds, rhinos, 200 tree species, orchids, elephants, turtles and more.