What does a flapshell turtle eat

In the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, an Indian special unit has struck a spectacular blow. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, police seized more than 6,400 protected turtles that smugglers were trying to move to Calcutta. The alleged boss of the smugglers' ring was arrested during the raid. With a weight of 4.4 tons, this was the largest find so far in the fight against the trade in numerous protected species on the Asian subcontinent.

The meat of the softshell turtles (Lissemys punctata) is particularly popular in eastern India and other Asian countries. It is sometimes said to have a potency-increasing effect, although there is no scientific evidence for it. The bones are also used as a powder for supposedly medicinal purposes. For some people, the turtles are also considered lucky charms, so the demand for live animals that are kept at home is also growing rapidly.

Experts estimate that from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh alone at least 20,000 of these turtles enter the illegal trade every year. The animals are still quite numerous there, but wildlife biologist Rachna Tewari warned in Indian media that this could change soon if trade cannot be curbed. The animals are important for the balance in the great river system of the Ganges, they eat snails, crustaceans and also a lot of carrion and thus contribute to the purification of the water.