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USA, Austrian Turtle experts visit Kalyan Sagar and hatcheries; suggest ways of saving N-Nigricans turtles
USA, Austrian Turtle experts visit Kalyan Sagar and hatcheries; suggest ways of saving N-Nigricans turtles
PHOTO : USA, Austrian Turtle experts visiting Kalyan Sagar. TIWN Pic June 12

UDAIPUR, JUNE 12 (TIWN): Trash, insufficient food, lack of awareness among the people and polluted water on the Kalyan Sagar are creating major problems as far as the survival of the N-Nigricans turtles- a rare species found in the Matabari Kalyan Sagar, expressed a group of turtle experts on Thursday noon.

 A team of foreign turtle experts and environmentalists from Austria and United States of America(USA) visited Matabari on Thursday guided by an Indian environmentalist and spent more than two and half hours there. The experts took a close look at ongoing facilities provided to the N-Nigricans turtles in the newly built hatcheries as well as in the Kalyan Sagar. The team comprises Peter Praschag, Director of Turtle Research and Conservation Centre,Austria, Environmentalist cum Turtle specialist Mercy Vaughan from USA, Environmetalist Shanon DiRuzzo, Construction Engineer cum Environmentalist Thad Stewart-both from the USA and  Environmentalist and Turtle Specialist Rupali Ghosh from India. DFO Gomati Arun Kumar, IFS was also present there. The experts arrived in Udaipur on Wednesday evening.

At around 11.30am the team arrived in Matabari. After visiting the temple complex the experts met the official of Matabari temple to find out how much food is offered to these rare species turtles. They were surprised to see the very little quantity of goat meat that is being given to the turtles. On request from the experts the official increased the quantity a bit. At around 12.15 minutes the team went to the hatcheries led by DFO Gomati. When they inside the hatchery a woman was seen to offer meat to the turtles and Rupali Ghosh the turtle expert too joined the woman. But no turtle came instantly; rather the fishes are seen eating the meat.

 Speaking to TIWN correspondent , Peter Praschag, the Director of Turtle Research and Conservation Centre, Austria said, " I am happy to see the arrangement made by the Forest Department and the DFO for his sincerity.I am sure that the turtles need more food and the trashes found in this pond is extremely harmful for these turtles. I would suggest that adequent quantity of meat, fishes, should be given to these species. And the plastics, biscuits, packages, puffed rice - should be removed from here and it has to be ensured that such things are not thrown in the Kalyan Sagar." It is to be mentioned here that Peter Praschag has done his PHD on N-Nigricans turtles.

Turtle expert Mercy Vaughan told TIWN, " I am impressed with the Forest Department for constructing the hatcheries and making these beaches for the turtles and posting guards." She said, " I am agreeing  with my colleague Peter that the trash which is quite significant here needs to be collected and taken out of this pond. And the fish species , which prey on the juvenile turtles , should be placed to adjacent ponds. Moreover, the food items found in this pond are so risky for these rare Bostami species. The authorities must take care that these items are healthy and sufficient for the turtles."

 Rupali Ghosh said that their team will meet the DM Gomati on Friday and will submit their report. However, she said, " The devotees who come with goats to sacrifice should atleast leave a portion of the meat for these turtles so that they get enough food. Moreover, the authirities should think to serve the food items after sunset as the various species of turltes prefer darkness." It is to be mentioned that apart from the most endangered Black Shelled N-Nigricans, species of Flap Shelled turtle namely Lissemys Punctata( picture shown in our earlier news publish on turtles of Kalyan Sagar) and Pungshura turtles are also found here.

      Mercy Vaughan further urged DFO Arun Kumar to see that the lights from the posts adjacent to the hatchries are removed. She also urged to take steps to shift the High mast Lighting System post from the east bank of Kalyan Sagar. DFO Arun Kumar told TIWN , "Forest Department will take all necessary steps as recommended by the team of experts. Once I get their reports  I will send them to the Chief Secretary S K Panda, Chief Wild Life Warden A K Gupta and the PCCF." However, he said that the plan submitted to the District Administration has not yet been approved and thus the funds too have not been released.  

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