Today, the first 14 of 40 Black Softshell Turtle eggs hatched in the incubation room at the Nagsankar Temple in Assam, India.
The Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) is a Critically Endangered species native to Bangladesh and India. Until recently, it was considered Extinct in the Wild on account of no known wild populations. Within the last 15 years, however, a few small remnant populations have been discovered inhabiting the Brahmaputra River basin of Northeast India.
The majority of this species’ population resides amongst sacred temple ponds in its two native countries. In India, the population at the Nagsankar Temple is considered the country’s largest. Here, our TSA India Program collaborates with the temple to increase the population of the Black Softshell.
To increase holding capacity for the population of turtles at the Nagsankar Temple, an additional, previously constructed pond, was dedicated for their inhabitance. The pond also allows young turtles to reside in relatively safety away from the large adults. Half of this year’s hatch will be released into this pond, while the other half will be released into a tributary of the Brahmaputra known to be inhabited by the imperiled species.
It’s our future goal to create a head start program at Nagsankar Temple where hatchling turtles will be reared to a larger size before their release into the wild. The goal of head starting is to allow the hatchling turtles to attain a size less susceptible to predation once released.
You can help us create a rear and release program for the Black Softshell Turtle by becoming a TSA Donor today. CLICK HERE TO DONATE!
Photo credits: Parimal Ray
We would like to give additional thanks to the Colombus Zoo and Aquarium for their support of this effort.