Red-crowned Roofed Turtle – Update (November, 2022)

India has proposed improving the protection of the red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga) under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

About red-crowned roofed turtle

  • Red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga) is a freshwater turtle native to India and Bangladesh.
  • It is currently on the brink of extinction.
  • The turtle species is already classified as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
  • Its survival is threatened because of habitat loss caused by pollution and hydrological projects in Gangal lowlands of northern India and Bangladesh.
  • It is also facing threats from illegal consumption and illegal international trade.
  • Historically, this species was found in central Nepal northeastern India, Bangladesh and in Burma. However, the population in these regions dwindled as these turtles were harvested for meat and shells. They also died because of drowning in fishing nets, water pollution and other challenges.
  • Currently, India is implementing a captive breeding program for this species and has initiated conservation efforts as well.

19th Conference of the Parties to CITES

The 19th Conference of the Parties to CITES is being held from November 14 to 25 in 2022 in Panama – a country in central America. The CITES is an agreement that regulates the movement of certain wild animal and plant species across the international border. It has three appendices:

  1. The first appendix is for species that are critically threatened and are on the brink of extinction.
  2. The second one is for species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but requires interventions to prevent trade and threats that challenge their survival.
  3. The third appendix is used when a specific country requires trade regulation for a specific species.

At the CITES COP19 agenda, countries have issued proposals to amend the appendices, shifting species like hippopotamus, straw-headed bulbul, red-crowned roofed turtle and African elephant to appendix I. Proposals are also made to include hammerhead sharks and requiem in appendix II.

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