DERGAON, April 26 - The carcass of a tortoise weighing 22.7 kg was found in a public pond at Lukumai under Dergaon Forest Beat Office yesterday.
According to Forest Beat Officer Monoj Boro, the carcass of the female tortoise which measured three feet nine inches in length and one foot six inches in breadth, was recovered by the villagers in the morning.
On hearing the news, forest oficials rushed to the spot and recovered the carcass. After the mandatory post-mortem, the carcass was buried on the bank of the pond.
On the other hand, allegations are rife that the villagers were instrumental in flushing out the water of the said pond on April 18, following which other aquatic creatures like fish etc., also died. Further, the tortoise under review was allegedly caught and kept in a tank by the villagers.
After coming to know about trapping of the tortoise by the villagers, forest officials from Dergaon visited the scene on April 19, where the villagers organised a meeting at Lukumai Bor Naamghar. The meeting informed the Forest officials present that the tortoise was again freed in the pond.
However, a local source claimed that the tortoise might have sustained injuries during the process of trapping and subsequent freeing, following which she succumbed to her injuries.
Nature organisation Aashray has in the meantime expressed concern over the premature death of the tortoise and urged the State Forest Department to arrange frequent awareness meetings among the public in an effort to plead on the need to protect and preserve flora, fauna and all aquatic creature for posteriy.