Endangered Turtles Released in India

By Tanushree Mundra and Jordan Gray

Our TSA India Program, in collaboration with our governmental partners in Uttar Pradesh and the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, has released 108 turtles into the Chambal River. Of these, 100 were head started Red-crowned Roofed Turtles (Batagur kachuga), and 7 adult Three-striped Roofed Turtles (Batagur dhongoka) and 1 Crowned River Turtle (Hardella thurjii) rescued from black-market trade last October.

Juvenile head started Red-crowned Roofed Turtles (Batagur kachuga).
The release team poses with buckets containing many of the 100 juvenile head started Red-crowned Roofed Turtles (Batagur kachuga) alongside the Chambal River.

The release of the 100 head started Red-crowned Roofed Turtles continues the captive rear and release component of our long-term program to bolster the population of this critically endangered turtle in the Chambal, the last remaining stronghold for the species. This past year, the nest protection program successfully hatched 370 eggs. In May, 270 of these were released post-hatching at their natal beach in May. The 100 other hatchlings designated for head start have been cared for at the Garhaita Turtle Conservation Centre near Etawah.

Adult Three-striped Roofed Turtles (Batagur dhongoka) rescued from wildlife trade in October await their return to freedom in the Chambal River.

The release of the adult Three-striped Roofed Turtles and Crowned River Turtle marks the successful return of all 79 turtles rescued from a black-market trade operation in October. READ THE STORY HERE!

Both adults and children alike participate in the turtle release.

The release was done under the supervision of Mr. Anand Kumar Srivastava─District Forest Officer Chambal, Mr. Sarvesh Bhaudoriya─Sub Divisional Officer Etawah, Harikishor Shukla─Range Officer Etawah Chambal Sanctuary, and conducted with the assistance of forest staff, the Chambal project staff, and Kunal Jain, a volunteer from Agra. School children and villagers from the village of Garhaita, where one of the India program's turtle facilities is based, were also invited to take part in the release. This event was also attended by Ms. Bhavna Vaal from the Press Trust of India.

The release time poses for one last photograph with the rescued Three-striped Roofed Turtles (Batagur dhongoka) before they are set free.

To aid our efforts on behalf of endangered turtles in India, please consider becoming a TSA Donor today!