Rare 'Batagur Baska' babies hatched in Sundarban’s Karamjal
04:08 PM, May 16, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:59 PM, May 16, 2019

Rare 'Batagur Baska' hatched in Sundarban’s Karamjal

Wildlife conservation efforts always involve immense patience and resilience and takes a long time to show any tangible progress. On the morning of May 16, conservationist and forest department officials at the wildlife breeding centre in Karamjal of East Sundarbans woke up to see some of the conservation efforts producing results.

On March 11, critically endangered 'Batagur Baska', the northern river terrapin which laid 32 eggs at the wildlife breeding center under the Chandpai range of East Sundarbans, started to hatch today, reports our Bagerhat correspondent.

A total of 10 eggs were hatched this morning and the process of hatching the eggs continues.

The offspring are being hatched through natural incubation (keeping them in sand) process, the correspondent reports quoting Divisional Forest Officer Mahmudul Hasan.

The Batagur Baska laid eggs for the third time in this breeding centre.

Earlier, in 2017, two turtles laid 63 eggs of which 57 offspring were born. In 2018, two turtles laid 46 eggs, of which 24 hatched, he added.

A few years back, wildlife researchers found eight Batagur Baska in different ponds of Noakhali and Barishal, of which four were male and four females.

These were then taken to Gazipur for breeding, where, 94 turtles were hatched. In the year 2014, the eight main Batagur Baskas and 94 offspring were brought to Karamjal wildlife breeding center. There are 190 turtles there now, he added.

The initiative to conserve Batagur Baska was first initiated by Carinam, a Bangladeshi NGO, with permission from the Bangladesh Forest Department in 2009-10, says SMA Rashid, chief executive of Carinam.  

The initiative was later supported by local and international organisations such as Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and Zoo Vienna, he added.

Later in 2012, International Union for Conservation of Nature, also joined in the conservation efforts and established a captive breeding centre in Bhawal National Park in Gazipur, said Rashid.

Batagur Baska is one of the 10 most critically endangered turtles in the world and can only be found in the wild in the mangroves of Bangladesh and India.

They have been pushed towards extinction owing to the hunting threats, habitat degradation and changing climate conditions, the forest officer said.

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