The world’s fourth most endangered turtle has received a happy boost from breeding efforts, reports the AFP. Bangladeshi scientists have successfully hatched 25 northern river terrapins (Batagur baska) using an artificial beach constructed in the country’s Bhawal National Park.
Scientists captured 19 wild turtles (five females and fourteen males) as an insurance population against extinction, built a beach on two ponds, and saw their efforts rewarded with over two dozen babies so far. All five of the females captured produced nests.
Dubbed the fourth most endangered turtle by a list of the top 25 endangered turtles by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Turtle Conservation Coalition, the northern river terrapin is currently found in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List as its populations have been decimated by black market demand for food. The wildlife trade has caused the species to go extinct in Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
The program in Bangladesh has been supported by Turtle Survival Alliance, local group CARINAM, the Vienna Zoo, and the government’s Forest Department.
The closely related southern river terrapin (Batagur affinis) has not been evaluated by the IUCN Red List, but is listed as number 18 in the top 25 most endangered turtles. Seventeen of the top 25 turtle species (68 percent) occurs in Asia, where populations are being driven to extinction for food and medicinal consumption, in addition to habitat loss and pollution.
(04/17/2012) The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has pledged to work with all of its institutions to save at least half of the world’s most 25 endangered turtles as listed in a report by WCS and the Turtle Conservation Coalition last year. The program will include both conservation work in the field as well as participation from WCS’s zoological institutions for captive breeding and future reintroductions. Even with WCS’s ambitious program, however, it is likely this century will see a number of turtle extinctions.
(04/16/2012) At a seemingly small residence in Florida, lives the world’s greatest turtle collection. The Chelonian Research Institute contains a specimen of nearly every species of turtle found worldwide and many live species. Founded and headed by Dr. Peter Pritchard, the institute is both a research center and an active museum.
(01/18/2012) Only around 200 southern river terrapins (Batagur affinis) survive in the wild, but today at least the species got some good news. A female terrapin was released back into the Sre Ambel River with much fanfare after being caught by a local fishermen in Cambodia.