November 7, 2010: “We succeeded in securing an additional three males however we missed saving one male by 5 minutes as it was slaughtered at the market. If we had been just a few minutes earlier we could have stopped it from being slaughtered, but unfortunately we arrived after they had already started chopping the plastron off.”
These were the anguished words of Brian Horne after leaving the weekend turtle market in Dhaka, Bangladesh in what he would later describe “as one of the worst days of my life, the whole experience left me feeling numb”
Working with Ms. Rupali Ghose (pictured), Brian was plying the turtle markets on behalf of TSA to secure additional breeding stock of the Sundarbans river terrapin, Batagur baska, recognized as one of the most threatened of Asia’s large river turtles, ranking just behind the Yangtze giant softshell, Rafetus swinhoei. Working with the Bangladesh Forest Department and the NGO Carinam, TSA had already acquired 5 males and 2 females this year for a captive breeding program. But every specimen is valuable and extreme efforts must be made to secure them before the species slips into extinction.