Dozens of Indian flapshell turtles were probably poisoned by humans at a lake near Mumbai, Indian wildlife experts said Sunday.
Suhas Pawar of the conservation group Wild Animal and Reptile Rescue said 57 Indian turtles had been killed in Kalyan, east of Mumbai. Conservation workers were able to rescue six animals.
Pawar told news agency AFP that locals probably killed the turtles to stop them from eating fish they were illegally breeding in the lake. “Everything is being investigated now, a post-mortem and scientific analysis will reveal the exact cause of these deaths,” Pawar said.
He added that the turtle population had increased in the area because of COVID-19 restrictions. “Restrictions on human activity likely increased the fish stocks at the lake, and these turtles were now growing in numbers by feeding on them [fish], which angered some locals,” Pawar said.
Indian flapshell turtles are a protected species in India under the Wildlife Protection Act.
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