JALPAIGURI: Roofed turtles, which are protected under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972, will get a new breeding ground in Jalpaiguri, thanks to all-out efforts by the Society for Protecting Ophiofauna& Animal Rights (SPOAR) and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
The population of the species is depleting fast due to rampant poaching and loss of habitat.
Convinced by SPOAR, WTI has sanctioned a fund of Rs 1.58 lakh for renovating a pond at Lota Devi Mandir on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri on the banks of river Karala, which is considered to be the only waterbody of the remaining roofed turtles outside protected areas in Jalpaiguri.
SPOAR has also spoken to the Lota Devi Mandir authority and has convinced them for building a ‘Kurma Avatar’ temple in an effort to protect the species.
The body will also make a breeding ground for these turtles in the pond. Work is scheduled to start on April 8 under the supervision of Sailendra Singh, India head of Turtle Survival Alliance.
“There are some 15 turtles in the Lota Devi Mandir pond and if nothing is done now, we may lose them soon. For the first phase, we have already received Rs 70,000,” SPOAR secretary Shyama Prasad Pandey said.