India strengthens the CITES protection to Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle

Source: The post is based on the articleIndia strengthens the CITES protection to Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtlepublished in PIB on 25th November.

What is the News?

India’s proposal for transferring Leith’s Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia leithi) from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) has been adopted by the Conference of Parties (CoP) to CITES.

What is Leith’s Softshell Turtle?  

Leith’s Softshell Turtle is a large freshwater soft-shelled turtle.

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Indian Wildlife Protection Act:  Schedule IV which gives it protection from hunting as well as trade.

Distribution: It is endemic to Peninsular India. They inhabit rivers and reservoirs mainly in southern peninsular India, in states like Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Its presence is substantial in the Cauvery, Tungabhadra, Ghataprabha, Bhavani, Godavari and Moyar drainages.

Threats: The species has been subject to intensive exploitation over the past 30 years. It has been poached and illegally consumed within India. It has also been illegally traded abroad for meat and for its calipee.

The population of this turtle species is estimated to have declined by 90% over the past 30 years such that the species is now difficult to find.

What are the other decisions taken at the COP to CITES?
Jeypore Hill Gecko (Cyrtodactylus jeyporensis)

India’s proposal for the inclusion of Jeypore Hill Gecko in CITES Appendix II has been approved.

Jeypore Hill Gecko is a species of gecko found in India. The species was first discovered in 1877 and was later thought to be extinct. It was rediscovered in 2010 in the Eastern Ghats of Odisha state.

IUCN Status: Endangered

Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga)

India’s proposal to transfer of Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle) from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES has also been approved.

Red Crowned Roofed Turtle is a large, shy riverine turtle. The bright red colored stripes on the head of the males during the breeding season give it the name “Red-crowned”.

Distribution: It is native to India, Nepal and Bangladesh and known to be widely found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra river basins, according to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). 

– At present in India, the National Chambal River Gharial Sanctuary is the only geographic area where the species is found in substantial numbers. 

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Indian Wildlife Protection Act:  Schedule I

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