GUWAHATI, Sept 3 - A two-day workshop, beginning today, on freshwater turtles and tortoises found in India is being organised at the Assam State Zoo here. The participants are thirty frontline forest department staff of nine wildlife divisions of Assam, including Kaziranga, Nameri, Orang and Manas National parks. Students of Gauhati University and Cotton University are also taking part in the workshop.
The resource persons were eminent herpetologists – Dr Saibal Sengupta from Assam Don Bosco University and Dr Abhijit Das from the Wildlife Institute of India, along with turtle biologist Anuja Mital and zoo veterinarian officer Dr Arindam Kishore.
The event was organised by Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises of India (FTTI) in collaboration with the Assam State Zoo, with support from the Wildlife Institute of India, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Desert Tortoise Council.
Today, the training programme covered topics on the rich diversity of 21 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises of Assam, turtle taxonomy, identification techniques, differences between types of turtles and tortoises, and turtle first aid and rescue techniques. Participants were also given a brochure in English and Assamese on the turtles of Assam and other resource materials.
Tomorrow, there will be practical, hands-on sessions on turtles and their husbandry and care. Legal aspects related to wildlife, turtle trade and the Biodiversity Act will also be covered. The programme is being organised with the support of Tejas Mariswamy, DFO of the Assam State Zoo, Rajni Deka, senior animal keeper, and other zoo support staff.