KENDRAPARA: Forest personnel released an albino freshwater Indian flap shell turtle into the Gobari river after the rare and endangered species was caught in a fishing net near Gogua village within the Mahakalapada range here on Sunday.
Experts believe the discovery of this rare turtle is crucial as it shows that the natural habitat, in which it was found, is still rich and should be conserved. Mahakalapada range officer S Biswal said, “We got the information and rushed to the spot. The turtle has been released into the river.”
The Indian flap shell turtle is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. This species is confined to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and widespread in the northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent.
Secretary of Gahirmatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society Hemant Rout informed that the freshwater turtle is a scavenger in the river and threatened by hunting and habitat loss. It prefers clear, large, or medium rivers with sand. He, however, said the unique species population is on the decline and faces a bleak future as predators are taking a toll on the turtle population.