Rare ap­pear­ance

Af­ter a decade, the Bostami tur­tles stage a come­back in Tripura


THE SOFT-SHELL tur­tles, Nilsso­nia ni­gri­cans, pop­u­larly known as Bostami tur­tles,laid eggs near the holy lake of Tripureswari tem­ple in Udaipur, 55 km from Agar­tala, in the first week of June this year. For the first time in a decade, as many as 10 baby tur­tles were seen tod­dling on the Na­tional High­way 44A dur­ing a heavy down­pour in the city. About 163 eggs were hatched in over a month on the east­ern fringe of the lake.Ac­cord­ing to the lake man­age­ment com­mit­tee, tur­tles breed be­tween March and July. Most of them strolled down the lake.Only 35 were shifted to the Sepahi­jala Zo­o­log­i­cal Park in Bishal­garh,Tripura, on an ex­per­i­ment ba­sis, says Mihir Ku­mar Das,a sci­en­tist with the Tripura State Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board (tspcb).

It is iron­i­cal that the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture (iucn) says that the tur­tle species is ex­tinct in the wild,though it re­mains listed un­der In­dia’s Wildlife Pro­tec­tion Act, 1972.The tur­tles were found near the 15th cen­tury tem­ple, con­structed by King Dhanya­manikya. It is one of the holi­est Hindu shrines in the coun­try, and con­sid­ered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (places of wor­ship to

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