Many freshwater turtles, crocodilians like the gharial and the Gangetic Dolphin are threatened species, owing to poaching, illegal trade as well as fishing practices. The Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle, once widespread across the Gangetic Basin, has now dwindled to a last surviving population of approximately 500 nesting females in the Chambal River. Eggs and hatchlings are predated upon either by natural predators like the Indian Golden Jackals (Canis aureus) and stray dogs or various aquatic birds while adults often either die as accidental by-catch in illegal nets or via direct poaching for the exotic pet market in Asia. Furthermore, extreme habitat degradation due to illegal sand mining and the erratic release of water from dams upstreams pose further threats to the nesting habitats and subsequent population regeneration. The Northern River Terrapin (Batagurbaska), found in West Bengal’s Sundarban Tiger Reserve (STR), is the world’s second most endangered turtle. Population assessments over the past decade have found no wild animals, although captive specimens were discovered in some villages. The Asian Forest Tortoise (Manouria emys), also known as the Asian Brown Tortoise, is an endangered species that has been nearly wiped out from its distribution range in Southeast Asia, with limited individuals found as part of captive specimens in zoo across the Northeast of India.

Read more Freshwater Turtle Research and Conservation Programme



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