The forest officials managed to recover a rare specimen of a river turtle (Batagur Baska) that is facing extinction, just as it was about to be sold at Mongla Bazar on Monday, UNB reports.
Azad Kabir, officer-in-charge of Karamjal Wildlife Reproduction Centre, said the 40-year-old river turtle, weighing 12.5 kg has been caught in the net of a local fisherman from Putimari canal in Mongla upazila of the Sundarbans few days ago.
Later, one Abul Hossain bought it for Tk 1,000. He is the one who took it to Mongla Bazar intending to sell it on at a profit.
Seeing an antenna-like device protruding from its back with a mobile phone number provided – the tell-tale sign of animals under study for some research project, local people called the number and informed the person who answered.
It turned out to be Abdur Rab, station manager of a Batagur Baska project, who came and took it from Abul Hossain, an exchange of Tk 1,000 between Rab and Abul a paltry detail in the grand scheme of things.
Abdur Rab then released the recovered animal at the pond of the Karamjal Wildlife Reproduction Centre.
The movement of the tortoise is being monitored through the satellite and four tortoise of this species are now alive while another one died in Barishal one month ago, said Azad.
Mohammad Mahmudul Hasan, divisional forest officer of Sundarbans East Zone, said the batagur baska species of tortoise is facing extinction. At least five males of the species were released in Sundarbans, with GPS tracker attached, as part of a research collaboration between the Vienna Zoo in Austria, a US institute, and the Forest Department of Bangladesh.