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Breakout Year for India’s Narrow-Headed Softshell Turtle

One of India’s most iconic and recognizable turtles, the Giant Narrow-headed softshell turtle (Chitra indica) hasbeen a primary focus of TSA India’s program since 2007.

Locating and protecting nests in the upper Ganges, Chambal and lower Yamuna river systems has resulted in thousands of hatchling being released that likely would have not survived.  In the process, much has been learned about the nesting ecology, abundance and distribution of this heavily hunted species.  However, efforts to start a pilot husbandry program, with the goal of refining captive rearing techniques that would allow the development of an assurance colony, have met with setbacks and frustrations over the years.

In an effort to reverse this trend, a solar water heater was installed at one of our captive facilities – Kukrail – and the enclosure was wrapped in plastic sheeting to retain heat.  50 hatchlings were retained for rearing in early 2013, but 30 perished due to temperature extremes.  However 20 survived and now weigh more than 150 grams as of September 2013.  Last week another 60 eggs from two nests were moved to Kukrail for incubation and headstarting again this year.

From Turtle Survival Alliance, one of my favorite conservation non-profits.

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