Species in news: Red-Eared Slider
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Biodiversity
- A American turtle popular as a pet is threatening to invade the natural water bodies across Northeast India.
- Northeast India is home to 21 of the 29 vulnerable native Indian species of freshwater turtles and tortoises.
- Between August 2018 and June 2019, a team of herpetologists from the NGO ‘Help Earth’ found red-eared sliders in the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ugratara temple pond — both in Guwahati, Assam
- The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) derives its name from red stripes around the part where its ears would be and from its ability to slide quickly off any surface into the water.
- It is native to the U.S. and northern Mexico.
- This turtle is an extremely popular pet.
- They grow fast and virtually leave nothing for the native species to eat.
- It has already affected States such as Karnataka and Gujarat, where it has been found in 33 natural water bodies.
- Preventing this invasive species from overtaking the Brahmaputra and other river ecosystems in the Northeast is crucial because the Northeast is home to more than 72% of the turtle and tortoise species in the country, all of them very rare.