Green Minute News

On Wednesday morning, an Indian Pond Terrapin or the Indian black turtle was rescued and released in a clean water body of Bengaluru city. During the rainy season, some 4-5 turtles are rescued in a month on the IT city roads and colonies. This species is called terrapins as they spend their time both on land and water.

Presently, the city’s foaming and frothing water bodies are sounding the death knell for these freshwater reptiles. They usually come out of polluted water bodies of the city and go in search of clean water sources and many a time, even get caught and killed in the traffic melee.

On Tuesday night, residents noticed the turtle ambling away on the busy Mysore Road. A Scheduled-1 species under the Wildlife Protection Act, it had sought shelter near the railway gate, PES College in the RR Nagar Zone. They immediately called up the BBMP authorities. The rescue team consisting of Rohit Das, BBMP wildlife volunteer and honorary wildlife warden, Bengaluru Prasanna Kumar rushed to the spot next morning and rescued it. After noticing that the animal was healthy, they released the turtle in the Mylasandra Lake-1 on Uttarhalli-Kengeri Road near Turahalli forests.

Speaking to Green Minute, Prasanna Kumar said usually during monsoons, this species is rescued near water bodies. He added, “With Bengaluru lakes and tanks becoming highly polluted and terrapins unable to bear it, they come out in search of fresh water – smelling the rains. Many times they get killed during road kills, sometimes get caught in black magic rackets. Looking for an unpolluted water body surrounded by forests, we released it in a suitable habitat (the Mylasandra Lake-1) conducive for its survival.”

Kumar further requested the citizens of Bengaluru to inform the authorities immediately and check the credentials of the rescuers as there are chances of poachers taking advantage as the animal is used for black magic. Further, IUCN has listed the species as a ‘threatened’ species even as it is hunted for its meat. Another species found in Bengaluru includes – the Flapshell Turtle that has adapted to different kinds of water bodies in the IT city.

Indian Pond Terrapins

  • Also called as Indian Black Turtles
  • Medium-sized fresh water turtle of S. Asia
  • Shell color varies from red to dark brown
  • Inhabits ponds, streams, paddy fields, marshes
  • Spends most of the day basking in the sun
  • Food comprises of aquatic plants to insects, snails, and fishes as also carrion
  • Keeps the lake clean, indicator of lake health
  • Breeding season August-October
  • Classified as Near threatened by IUCN
  • Hunted for its meat, pet trade, black magic

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