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Mon, 16 Jul 2018

Northeast Today

Rare Turtle Found Dead in Garo Hills

Rare Turtle Found Dead in Garo Hills
August 28
17:09 2017

NET Bureau, Saidul Khan

Activist of Huro India on Saturday recovered the shell of a dead giant turtle, which surfaced on the banks of Tasek Lake, near Songsak in East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.

The team from Huro India, an organisation working for conservation of Hoolock Gibbon and other wildlife in Garo hills visited the spot after learning that the dead giant turtle was spotted by the locals.

“We noticed that the photo of the dead turtle was going viral on social media and decided to go to the spot to get the details. We located the person, who first spotted it and had removed the shell and had kept it in his custody.”, said Dr. Saljagringrang R. Marak, a veterinarian, who is associated with Huro India.

Dr. Marak said that it is for the first time that such rare turtle was spotted in Garo hills, which is yet to be documented. Huro India team quoting locals said that such turtles were found in large numbers in Tasek, Chitmareng, Chidambong and Bolgisim.

“It calls for research as we suspect it to be listed in endangered category”, said Bhutto Marak, another activist associated with Huro India.

Bhutto informed that it was an unusual turtle so they consulted an US based “Turtle Conservancy and Chelonian Research Foundation” for identification, who have narrowed it down to be either Nilssonia Hurum or Nilssonia Nigricans.

“Nigricans is known to exist in an artificial pond of Baizid Bostami Shrine near Chittagong in Bangladesh, so we are very existed that if locals are to be believed than is a big achievement and we can come together for conservation and protection of this rare turtle in Garo hills”, said Bhutto.

Hurum and Nigricans are listed in IUCN’s red list category.

“We have collected the DNA sample and will send it for further investigation to Bangladesh”, Bhutto added.

Activists of Huro India said that Tasek is a community protected site and heavy penalty provision is already enforced for fishing and hunting of any species found in the lake but once they venture out of the protected area, they are in danger as villagers in Garo hills are still fond of hunting wild animals.

“We want to urge the concerned organisation and particularly government to ensure that the turtle species found in the area is protected and adequate studies are carried out for its identification”, said Dr. Marak.


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