Indian biologist wins global award in turtle conservation

What is the News?

Indian biologist Shailendra Singh has been awarded the Behler Turtle Conservation Award for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction.

Who has given this award?

The award was given by several global bodies involved in turtle conservation such as Turtle Survival Alliance, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and the Turtle Conservation Fund.

Why was he given this award? 

He was awarded for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction. These species are red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga), northern river terrapin (Batagur baska), and black softshell turtle (Nilssonia nigricans).

About Northern river terrapin:
  1. Northern river terrapin is a species of riverine turtle native to Southeast Asia. It is one of Asia’s largest freshwater and backwater turtles.
  2. Habitat: The species is currently found in Bangladesh (in the Sundarbans), Cambodia, India (parts- West Bengal & Odisha), Indonesia and Malaysia.
  3. IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  4. Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule I

About Red Crowned Roofed Turtle:

  1. Red Crowned Roofed Turtle is a species of freshwater turtle endemic to South Asia.
  2. The last known stronghold for this river turtle is on the Chambal River in central India, however, small isolated populations may still exist in the Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins. 
  3. IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  4. Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule I

About Turtle Survival Alliance(TSA)

It was formed in 2001 as an International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) partnership for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tortoises.

About Turtle Conservation Fund(TCF):

It was established in 2002 as a partnership initiative of Conservation International, IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA). Later, it was joined by other organizations.

The fund is focused on ensuring the long-term survival of tortoises and freshwater turtles.

About IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG)

It is one of the more than 100 Specialist Groups and Task Forces that constitute the working network of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). It provides expertise and science-based recommendations with conservation relevance covering all species of freshwater and terrestrial turtles and tortoises.

Note: The SSC is a science-based network of some 7000+ appointed volunteer specialists and experts from almost every country of the world, all working together towards achieving the vision of “a world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity.”

Source: This post is based on the article “Indian biologist wins global award in turtle conservation” published in The Hindu on 3rd September 2021.

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