In an attempt to raise awareness on conservation of tortoise and turtles, and on illegal trafficking, May 23 is celebrated as World Turtle Day.
In addition to smuggling, turtles face a variety of man-made issues that threaten their existence. One major threat, as with all other animal species, is habitat destruction.
As rivers become more and more polluted, the turtles are beginning to die off at greater rates. The hatchlings are born deformed; adults are dying from eating plastic; and the food sources are disappearing.
Large fishing trawlers also sometimes catch sea turtles, cut off their flippers to get them out of the net, and then leave them to die.
One of the greatest threats facing turtles and tortoises in India is smuggling to East Asian and Southeast Asian markets.
West Bengal has become a focal point of the turtle smuggling trade as many of the turtles make their way to Kolkata before being shipped off.