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Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle: Know all about the endangered species here

Tulika Tandon

An Indian Peacock soft-shell turtle has been rescued from Silchar's fish market in Assam. It is an animal belonging to vulnerable species. The turtle was saved by a professor Dr Sarbani Giri who is the HOD of Science and Bioinformatics rescued it. Get to know more about its features, its habitat and other ecological developments here. 

Why in News?

It was recently rescued from the fish market in Assam. The teacher first bought the turtle and then called the forest department only to release the rare species back into Barack river. 

About 

The Indian Peacock softshell turtle named Nilssonia hurum is present as a vulnerable species on the Schedule 1 in the IUCN Red List. Read more about IUCN Red List here. 

Habitat

  1. This species is present in the freshwater bodies of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  2. In India, it can be found in the northern and central parts of the subcontinent.
  3. These are found in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds with mud or sand bottoms, which means only in freshwater bodies. These are not saltwater animals.

Features

  1. The species is characterised by a large head, a snout turned down and a low, oval carapace, with olive to dark green colour and has a yellow rim
  2. The head of the turtle and its limbs are olive green in colour while its forehead has dark reticulations. They also have yellow or orange patches or spots especially behind the eyes and across their snout.
  3. The female turtles have shorter tails than their male counterparts.

Major threats

  1. The species faces threat to its habitat as the rivers are now facing a lot of issues with their cleanliness. Moreover, pollutants releasing in the rivers cause the species to die of food.
  2. This species faces exploitation for its meat and calipee which is the outer cartilaginous rim of the shell. These are sold for a heavy price in the international market. 
  3. River Ganga species, especially the generic ones face the risk of extinction. Many species of large river turtles face the issue of reduction of fish stock, as a result of overfishing, pollution, increase in river traffic and sand-mining etc.

The turtle has its name in the three lists to speed up its saving mechanisms. These lists are

  1. Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
  2. It is listed under the Vulnerable category in the IUCN Red List 
  3. It has been listed under Appendix I of CITES

What is IUCN Red Data List

International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN is an international organization established in 1948, that works in the field of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It compiles and publishes IUCN Red List of threatened species to keep a check on the conservation status worldwide. It is also called as Red Data List. 

The Red data list was formulated in 1964 and is a collective resource of the conservation status of all biological species found on earth. IUCN is the international authority for the conservation of species and has an observer and consultative status at the United Nations. Till today more than 116000 species have been identified in the list. 




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