Softshell Surveys Conducted in India

by Shai Singh and Ashutosh Tripathi 

The Indian narrow-headed turtle (Chitra indica) is a large softshell turtle that is extensively hunted throughout its range. Under the auspices of the TSA India project, a nest site assessment and monitoring survey of 75 km along the Yamuna River was conducted in September 2014. A total of seven nests, accounting for more than 700 eggs, were encountered during the survey and translocated to the TSA Turtle Survival Center on the Chambal River in Garhaita and a riverside hatchery close to Chambal-Yamuna confluence.

Recently, two nests hatched at the center; 65 hatchlings were released back at precise location of nesting and 20 other hatchlings were transferred to the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Conservation Center to develop an assurance colony. In addition, 20 hatchlings will be soft-released near the nesting site to evaluate the success of the intervention.

Moreover, two nests (216 eggs) were translocated and are being incubated at the Tarai centre while two more nests (166 eggs) were translocated to the NPCIL/TSA Narora facility on the Ganga River. The nests at Narora hatched in early October and currently the facility is maintaining 120 hatchlings. The TSA India team would like to acknowledge the Turtle Conservation Fund for their support of this project. 

Photo Credits: Ashutosh Tripathi and Raja Mandal