by Heather Lowe
The Sundarbans Batatgur or Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska) is generally considered to be functionally extinct in the
wild, with no known nesting populations remaining. However, two
juveniles were recently caught by fishermen in Bangladesh!
A small field team, led by Rupali Ghosh, was traveling in the south of Bangladesh this June to investigate news of the killing of an adult B. baska in February. During their travels and interviews with members of the community, they ultimately met the two fishermen with the baby terrapins. The fact that these two juveniles were caught indicates that the species is still reproducing in nature. Now the challenge is to find where they are nesting and then protect that site.
The fishermen could not identify with any certainty where the hatchlings had been obtained. For that reason, the hatchlings were not released and were instead integrated into the captive group currently housed at Bhawal National Park. Field surveys will be initiated in the near future to return to the area to identify the nesting site so that the wild population can be protected.