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Turtle Conservation

  • IASbaba
  • September 3, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Turtle Conservation

Part of: Prelims and GS – III – Environment 

Context Indian biologist Shailendra Singh has been awarded the Behler Turtle Conservation Award for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction.

  • The award has been bestowed by several global bodies involved in turtle conservation such as Turtle Survival Alliance, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and the Turtle Conservation Fund.
  • He and his team’s efforts now span much of India, impacting well over half of its turtle and tortoise species, many of which are among the most endangered turtles on the planet
  • For some species, such as the red-crowned roofed turtle ( Batagur kachuga ), northern river terrapin ( Batagur baska ), and black softshell turtle ( Nilssonia nigricans ), Dr. Singh and his team’s efforts are the last hope for their wild survival in the country.
Red-crowned roofed turtle  Northern river terrapin Black softshell turtle
Distribution  It is native to India, Bangladesh and Nepal. 

Currently in India, the National Chambal River Gharial Sanctuary is the only area with a substantial population of the species, but even this Protected Area and habitat are under threat.

It is found in India and Bangladesh (Sundarbans), Myanmar, Malaysia (peninsular), Indonesia (Sumatra), Thailand, and Cambodia They are found in ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh. 

Its distribution range also includes the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.

Characteristics  It is a freshwater turtle species, and found in deep flowing rivers with terrestrial nesting sites.Diet of the species consists exclusively of water plants. It lives in coastal mangrove estuaries and creeks, but ventures far upstream during the breeding season. It is a freshwater turtle species.
Threats Loss or degradation of habitat due to pollution and large scale development activities 

Sand mining and growing of seasonal crops

Drowning by illegal fishing nets.

Poaching and illegal trade.

Hunting and harvesting of eggs.

Pollution and loss of habitat

Drowning by illegal fishing nets.

Siltation and sedimentation due to watershed activities such as logging.

Consumption of turtle meat and eggs, 

Encroachment of wetlands 

Change in flooding pattern.

IUCN Critically endangered  Critically endangered  Critically Endangered
CITES Appendix II Appendix I Appendix I

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