GUWAHATI, May 30 – Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in Northeast India, in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is going to organise a one-day regional meet on ‘Strategic conservation planning for turtles and tortoises of North-east India’ in Guwahati, on June 1, 2012. The event will take place at the Indian Institute of Bank Management, Khanapara from 8.45 am onward.
Abhijit Das of Aaranyak, who heads the herpetology division of Aaranyak, said, “Northeast India is considered as a treasure trove for freshwater turtle species. However, the diversity is hitherto poorly studied from scientific and conservation perspectives. Scanty information exists on species population that hinder in conservation priority.”
The threats to turtles and tortoises have become more marked in recent years. “Habitat loss, local consumption and trade have all contributed to the decline in their population. At this juncture, it has become an urgent necessity to delineate conservation strategies for the chelonians of the region,” he noted.
Conservationists are worried that the threats to turtles and tortoises actually hint at a bigger dilemma for ecosystems. Many of them are indicator species, and their gradual disappearance reveals the deteriorating condition of the natural environment they live in.
The main objectives of the meet include a review of the existing knowledge and past projects on freshwater chelonians of Northeast India, discussing the recommendations of the National Turtle Priority Areas and Initiative Meeting hosted by TSA in Lucknow in October 2010, and identifying the turtle species, populations and areas for conservation and research in the region.
The meet will also seek to enable capacity building of various target groups for turtle conservation in the region.