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This World Turtle Day, spotlight on freshwater turtles

Throwing a spotlight on freshwater turtles ahead of World Turtle Day on May 23, the India Biodiversity Portal has initiated a ‘Turtle Spotting Week’ as part of a unique exercise to document the creatures across India.

“There are at least 28 species of freshwater turtles which can be spotted across the country and we felt that not enough attention was being given to them. Research and conservation activities in particular are limited and we wanted to encourage more people to document their findings,” explained Anuja Mittal, a wildlife biologist and an independent turtle researcher.

Ms. Anuja and Sneha Dharwadkar, a herpetologist, are hosting the initiative as part of the Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises of India Group, which aims to promote research and conservation of the species.

As part of the ‘Turtle Spotting Week’, which began on May 17, people with any interest in freshwater turtles or tortoises are being encouraged to register on the India Biodiversity Portal.

They can subsequently upload their observations with photos and details about the date, time and place.

Species spotted

Among the turtles sighted in Tamil Nadu is the Cochin Forest Cane Turtle in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, an extremely rare species which is endemic to India. The rare Leith’s Softshell Turtle was also observed at Melagiri.

Recordings have also been made of the Star Tortoise near Point Calimere, Kodikkarai. Apart from these, the other species found in the State include the Black Pond turtle and the Indian Flapshell turtle.

“We have had around 12 observations of turtles in Tamil Nadu recorded on the portal and there is scope for a lot more documentation in the coming days,” Ms. Anuja added.

Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/this-world-turtle-day-spotlight-on-freshwater-turtles/article27200896.ece

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