Two NGOs, zoo and Kamrup district administration sign pact with a major temple at Hajo near Guwahati for the project.A major temple in Assam has signed a memorandum of understanding with two green NGOs, the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden and the Kamrup district administration for long-term conservation of the rare freshwater black softshell turtle (Nilssonia nigricans).
- A vision document 2030 was also launched after Turtle Survival Alliance India and Help Earth signed the pact involving the Hayagriva Madhava Temple Committee. The temple, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, is at Hajo, about 30 km northwest of Guwahati.
- Until sightings along the Brahmaputra River’s drainage in Assam, the black softshell turtle was thought to be ‘extinct in the wild’ and confined only to ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh.
- They look almost the same as the Indian peacock softshell turtle (Nilssonia hurum), which is classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.
Habitat of Black Soft-shell Turtle:
Black Soft-shell Turtle is a freshwater species and there are 29 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises found in India.
They are found in ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh. Its distribution range also includes the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.
IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: No legal protection
Threats Black Soft-shell Turtle:
Consumption of turtle meat and eggs, silt mining, encroachment of wetlands and change in flooding pattern.
Sea Turtles of Indian Waters:
There are five species in Indian waters i.e. Olive Ridley, Green turtle, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Leatherback.
•The Olive Ridley, Leatherback and Loggerhead are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
•The Hawksbill turtle is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ and Green Turtle is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.