Protecting the Critical Chambal Landscape, One of the Last Viable Habitats for Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle

Environmental News from India:

  • The Chambal landscape is an important habitat for freshwater turtles. There are eight species of turtles found here of which the red-crowned roofed turtle is critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • The Chambal turtles use the sandy riverbank for nesting. Illegal sand mining is one of the major threats for them.
  • A programme by the Turtle Survival Alliance-India protects vulnerable nests from inundation during the monsoon season by removing these to hatcheries.
  • Recently, the organisation has introduced a spatial monitoring and reporting tool for turtle monitoring and conservation in the landscape. turtles.

The Chambal river landscape is semi arid. It is in this region, marked by gullies and ravines, and spanning three of India’s largest states, that the critically endangered Batagur kachuga turtle is found. Commonly known as the red-crowned roofed turtle, the male of the species exhibit dimorphism by producing distinct colours on the head, red, blue and yellow, to attract females during breeding season. In this habitat, less than 500 adult females survive.

The large freshwater turtles of the Batagur genus are found in the 425 km-long Chambal river which flows along the National Chambal Sanctuary that was set up in 1979. “The medium flowing river altogether supports eight species of freshwater turtles, of which two are Batagurs,” Shailendra Singh of Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) India, a global conservation organisation, said. He noted that the river and associated sanctuary is perhaps one of the last viable habitats for the Batagur kachuga. The other important species found here is the Batagur dhongoka or the three-striped roofed turtle.

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Source: Mongabay

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