Target: Honorable State Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud of Bangladesh
Goal: End poaching of endangered freshwater turtles for local consumption and celebration
In honor of the goddess Kali Puja for the annual Diwali festival, Bangladeshis captured and sacrificed over 100,000 turtles, including the critically endangered northern river terrapin and black soft-shell turtle.
While both of these species are listed under the First Section of the Bangladesh Wildlife Preservation Act, with the northern terrapin’s population at around 25 and the black soft-shell’s at 150, they are killed for religious and economic reasons. Local and international trade of native turtles is so vast, creating over 30,000 jobs, that local authorities seek to avoid social uprising by allowing the slaughter to continue.
In June, Thai officials found over 400 live turtles in tightly packed suitcases from Bangladesh and, later that month, Bangladeshi border officials intercepted 270 lbs of dead turtle meat and shells from North Indian smugglers who planned to sell to Bangladesh’s herbal medicine market.
The massacre in honor of Diwali is another example of Bangladesh’s destructive and out-of-control turtle trafficking and consumption. Turtles have survived for more than 220 million years but if action is not taken to curb slaughter by humans, they will not last much longer.
By signing the petition below, you will urge State Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud of Bangladesh to enforce harsher laws against poaching of endangered freshwater turtles for local consumption and celebration so as to protect them from extinction.
Dear Honorable State Minister,
The recent slaughter of 100,000 turtles in honor of Kali Puja is alarming and unsettling. With 27 species of turtle and 10% of the world’s turtle diversity in Bangladesh, it is essential that you enforce harsher laws to protect these fragile species from poaching and over-consumption.
While the northern river terrapin and black soft-shell river turtles are listed under the First Schedule of the Bangladesh Wildlife Preservation Act, their numbers are decreasing rapidly due to exploitation. These animals require increased protection from poachers and should never be used in celebratory sacrifices.
I strongly urge you to ban the murder and trade of endangered turtle species to prevent these types of massacres at future Diwali celebrations. As a festival that honors the renewal of life, I hope you and its celebrators understand the importance of protecting Bangladesh’s freshwater turtles so as to promote their survival.
[Your Name Here]