India’s proposal for induction of fresh water turtle Batagur kachuga (Red Crowned Roofed Turtle) earned wide support at CoP 19 to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) being held at Panama City.

 

About the turtle

  • It is a freshwater turtle species, and found in deep flowing rivers with terrestrial nesting sites.
  • Distribution —
      • It is native to India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Historically, the species was widespread in the Ganga River, both in India and Bangladesh.
      • It also occurs in the Brahmaputra basin. Currently in India, the National Chambal River Gharial Sanctuary is the only area with substantial population of the species.
  • Conservation Status —
    • IUCN : Critically Endangered
    • IWPA : Schedule I
    • CITES : Appendix II
  • Characteristics — In comparison to their female counterparts, the males are shorter and reach only half their length.
  • Major Threats —
    • Loss or degradation of habitat due to pollution and large scale development activities like water extraction for human consumption and irrigation and irregular flow from the upstream dams and reservoirs.
    • Sand mining and growing of seasonal crops along Ganga River are majorly affecting the sandbars along the river that are used by the species for nesting.
    • Drowning by illegal fishing nets.
    • Poaching and illegal trade.