These volunteers risk life and limb to rescue turtles from wells

These volunteers risk life and limb to rescue turtles from wells

Prasanna Kumar and his team have undertaken a daunting task. At the break of dawn, these wildlife volunteers set out on a mission with ropes dangling from their shoulders, visiting old areas of Bengaluru to rescue turtles from the depths of wells. Keeping turtles in wells is considered a good omen.

In old Bengaluru, when the water table was high and the water was not polluted, turtles flourished. Not any more. With the water table depleting day by day, wells have gone dry. To add to their woes, miscreants throw stones at them injuring them.

“The plight of these turtles is pitiable. We have turtles with injured shells. The shells are very hard. Only a brutal assault can crack their shields,” rues Kumar.

Kumar and his team have rescued around 300 to 400 turtles in the last two months. “Going into the well is tiring. The only aid is the rope. A little slip means breaking our bones or even losing our lives,” says Kumar, explaining the challenges in saving the creatures. Most of the wells are at least 40 ft to 50 ft deep.

With no knowledge of the food habits of these turtles, many people throw vegetables, biscuits and rusks into the wells to feed turtles. Some are rescued by these wildlife volunteers, who release them into lakes which are also disappearing fast.

“We rescued a majority of these turtles from Basavanagudi. Some wells near Kempambudhi lake have gone dry, which should worry us,” says Kumar.

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