Rare Species of Turtles being released in Diphlu river in Kaziranga National Park
GUWAHATI: Assam is home to 20 out of 28 species of tortoises and freshwater turtles available in India. Help Earth, an NGO that works for turtle conservation has identified 15 temples across the state of Assam with turtles and created turtle conservation centres in some of them.
Haygriv Madhav temple in Hajo is one of their most important turtle conservation centres. Through the efforts of the NGO and with the help of the temple management committee and district administration, successful breeding of very rare black softshell turtles is being undertaken.
Unfortunately, these black softshell turtle are almost extinct in the wild and thus, a restocking programme for this species was done so that they can be released back into the wild.
Sri Shiva Prasad Sarma, Doloi of Haygriv Madhav temple and Pranab Malakar, the caretaker of the turtles played a crucial role in rearing this extremely rare species along with the District Administration of Kamrup. The whole initiative was started under the supervision of then Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup, Vinod Seshan.
After the successful hatching of these turtles, they were reared in captivity for six months to make them ready to be released into the wild. The ready stock were then translocated to the Assam State Zoo under the supervision of Tejas Mariswamy, the DFO of Assam State Zoo in Guwahati.
Based on the habitat quality and protection, Diphlu river in Kaziranga National Park was selected for the release. A total of 40 turtles would be released here and the release honours would be done by Forest Minister, Parimal Suklabaidya in the presence of PCCF (W) and HoFF, Assam forest department.
The entire project was conceptualized and implemented by Dr. Jayaditya Purkayastha, General Secretary, Help Earth.