The red-crowned roofed turtle and Leith’s soft-shell turtle

  • IASbaba
  • November 29, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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Context: In a step forward towards conservation, two Indian turtle species — the red-crowned roofed turtles (Batagur kachuga) and Leith’s soft-shell turtle (Nilssonia leithii) — have made it to the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

  • The decision was made at the ongoing 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) of CITES in Panama City.
  • The species were moved from Appendix II to Appendix I which means the species is threatened with extinction.
  • Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, according to CITES.
  • Earlier in 2019 during the 18th CITES plenary meeting in Geneva, Indian star tortoises were added to the Appendix I.

About the Red crowned roofed turtle:

  • Red-crowned roofed turtle is native to India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • It is known to be widely found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra River basins.
  • At present in India, the National Chambal River Gharial Sanctuary is the only geographic area where the species is found in substantial numbers.

About Leith’s soft shell turtle:

  • Leith’s soft-shell turtle inhabits rivers and reservoirs mainly in southern peninsular India, in states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  • Its presence is substantial in the Cauvery, Tungabhadra, Ghataprabha, Bhavani, Godavari and Moyar drainages.

Major Threats:

  • Major threats for these turtles and other species are increasing loss of habitat due to pollution and unchecked urbanisation.
  • Other reasons for habitat loss include water extraction and irrigation, leading to irregular flow of upstream dams and reservoirs.
  • Sand mining and agriculture activities along the Ganga are significantly affecting the sandbars, which are safe nesting areas for the species.
  • Drowning due to illegal fishing nets, poaching and illegal trade further threaten their existence.

Source: DownToEarth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon Frogmouth, Coppersmith Barbet, Gray Chinned Minivet and White-throated Redstart are   (2020)

  1. Birds
  2. Primates
  3. Reptiles
  4. Amphibians


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