World Turtle Day celebrated at Zoo|
GUWAHATI, May 23 - Among the major vertebrate groups, turtles are the second most threatened groups of animals after non-human primates. Of the total 356 species found throughout the globe, 148 (60.4%) are on the verge of extinction. Significantly, Assam is the most species-rich State in India in terms of turtle diversity, accounting for 20 species out of 33 species found in the country. But unfortunately, such a threatened species is not getting the focus it deserves.
It was with the objective of raising awareness regarding turtles and their importance that May 23 is celebrated as the World Turtle Day every year. To mark the occasion, Help Earth, Assam State Zoo, Turtle Survival Alliance, India, and Cotton University jointly celebrated the World Turtle Day on the State Zoo campus.
A daylong programme comprising an awareness drive among children and students, and a seminar on turtle titled ‘Let’s talk turtles’ were held on the occasion.
Tejas Mariswamy, DFO, Assam State Zoo, initiated the programme. Dr Narayan Sharma of Cotton University delivered the introductory lecture on the topic. Dr Jayaditya Purkayastha, general secretary of Help Earth, presented a slide show, highlighting the conservation of turtles with a stress on captive breeding programme in temple ponds across the State.
Another highlight of the programme was the felicitation of Pranab Malakar, a grassroots worker engaged in turtle conservation at Haigriv Madhav Temple in Hajo. He has been instrumental in the successful breeding of the black soft-shell turtle, one of the rarest turtles.