Pune: As many as 63 turtles belonging to rare species were airlifted from Maharashtra’s Pune and flown to Assam, to be released into their natural habitat, a forest official said on Thursday.

Turtles of endangered species such as Indian roof turtle, crowned river turtle, brown roof turtle and spotted river terrapin were rescued during various seizures in the state, the official said.

The exercise was a joint initiative by the state forest department and the Turtle Survival Alliance, he said

“This is the first time that endangered and rare species of turtles are being sent by airways to be released into their natural habitat in the north eastern state,” Rahul Patil, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Pune division) said.

On reaching Guwahati, the turtles will be handed over to Turtle Survival Alliance and forest officials from Assam and later will be released in their natural habitat, the official said.

Of 63 turtles, 55 were with Indian Herpetological Society, Katraj in Pune, and eight had been with RESQ Charitable Trust, it was stated. 

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