KAZIRANGA- An endangered narrow headed turtle got its second life at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), which jointly run by wildlife care centre of Assam Forest Department and Wildlife Trust of India supported by IFAW.
The 5.6 kg adult turtle was brought to CWRC by a team led by Saurav Barkataki, the former honorary wildlife warden of Sonitpur district of Assam on 7th September 2021. The animal was rescued near Padum Pukhuri area on 5th September 2021. After the examination and observation by Dr. Tirath Singh, senior veterinarian of Tezpur on 6th September 2021, the animal was shifted to CWRC for better treatment.
“On clinical examination and radiography, a large fishing hook was found in the thoracic cavity of the turtle that needed surgical intervention.” diagnosed by Dr. Samshul Ali, the IFAW-WTI wildlife veterinarian at CWRC.
“Outwardly the animal looked healthy and active, but after radiography, the serious condition of the animal came to focus. And accordingly we planned surgical intervention, which was tough and time taking as well. The surgery took one and half hour to retrieve the fishing hook.” informed Dr. Ali, the wildlife veterinary surgeon of CWRC, who successfully accomplished the job of saving an endangered reptile.
The turtle was kept for post-operative care and observation for six (6) days. With the gradual and promising improvement under post-operative care, it was decided to release the animal in its habitat at the place of rescue in Tezpur.
Accordingly, the animal was shifted from CWRC to Tezpur’s historic lake attached to Chitralekha Park and the animal was released under the supervision of Mantu Bora, Range Officer, Tezpur (Central), and former wildlife warden Saurav Barkataki on Monday, 13th September 2021.
Locals including the fishermen of the area were sensitised by the CWRC and Tezpur forest division officials about the need and importance of saving turtles before the release of the animal.
The release was witnessed by eminent educationist Upendranath Sarma, senior veterinarian Dr.Tirath Singh, social activist Pushpa Deka along with officials of Assam Forest Department and wildlife lovers.
Dr. Ali appealed to the audience to use alternate methods of fishing wherever there is a population of turtles and water fowl. This is especially critical for turtles living outside of protected areas to prevent ingestion of fishing hooks that pose a serious threat to animals’ lives.