Northern River Terrapin Nests in Bangladesh

by Heather Lowe 

Female_emerging_from_water_to_nestThe TSA has been working in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the NGO CARINAM, the Forest Department and the Vienna Zoo, since 2010 to secure an assurance colony for the Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska), one of Asia’s most threatened large river turtles. After literally scouring markets and private ponds to secure some of the last known specimens of this Critically Endangered species, an assurance colony of 13 males and five females has been assembled and is now housed in a protected area (Bhawal National Park) managed by the Forest Department.

Nest_with_protective_meshWe are thrilled to report that as of mid-April, all five females have nested! Caretakers are carefully monitoring the nests, one of which had to be relocated to protect it from flooding. The nest had 15 eggs and the clutch was divided. Eight eggs were placed in the dugout nest on the sand beach and the remaining seven eggs were placed in a tank filled with sand covered by a protective mesh. The eggs from the remaining four nests have been left in the sandy beach covered by protective mesh to prevent predation.

Thanks to the Fagus Foundation, Cassidy Johnson, San Diego Zoo, Natural Encounters, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, WWF-Canada, Pat Koval, AAZK ‚Äì Henry Doorly Zoo, Toronto Zoo and Columbus Zoo for their support of this critical program.

Photo credits: SMA Rashid / CARINAM