Uttar Pradesh To Set Up First Turtle Conservation Reserve

Forest Department in Gonda District of Uttar Pradeshwith the support of Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation India, is launching a conservation effort. The purpose of this effort is to establish Turtle Conservation Reserve On the banks of the Sarju River, which is a tributary of the Ghaghra River. Gonda district is known for its turtle diversity, making it an ideal location for such a conservation effort.

proposal and monitoring

  • A proposal has been sent for this project, which involves monitoring various turtle species and studying the surrounding flora and fauna for six years.
  • The proposed reserve would include: 2 kilometer extension of Sarju riverFilled with a variety of plant species, avifauna, fishes and water snakes.

Government approval and management plan

  • The proposal has been sent to the state government for approval. Upon approval, a management plan will be prepared for an initial period of 10 years.
  • This plan will focus on The goal is to conserve the turtles and protect the entire biodiversity of the area.
  • This includes the conservation of over 30 fish species, 50 bird species, various plants and two species of water snakes. Attention will be given to preventing pollution in the river and improving water quality.

unique turtle species

  • Shailendra Singh, Director of Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation India highlighted the biodiversity of Sarju River. Notably, Sarju is home to nine species of turtles. Eight of them are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • presence of ‘Crowned River Turtle’ (Hardella thurzi) Particularly important because it nests and lays eggs in river water, unlike other turtle species found in the area.

Conservation Challenges

  • Despite its ecological importance, the Crown River turtle population has declined over the past two decades due to habitat loss. Singh stressed the urgent need for conservation efforts to reverse this decline.
  • Recent monitoring surveys have shown that about half the population of adult crowned river turtles lives in the Sarju River, with an estimated total of 5,000 individuals.

conservation strategies

  • Sriparna Dutta, a researcher with the Turtle Survival Alliance, outlined the turtle species identified in the area, stressing the need for targeted conservation measures.
  • In addition to preserving their natural habitat, the conservation program aims to actively involve local communities.
  • Singh highlighted the importance of empowering women, promoting self-reliance and acting as a deterrent against turtle poaching through the Culture Fisheries initiative.

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