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About Spotted Pond Turtles


Three persons engaged as mahouts (keepers and drivers of an elephant) in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, Assam, have been arrested for capturing and consuming spotted pond turtles, a rare species of a freshwater turtle.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Spotted Pond Turtles
  2. Kaziranga National Park

Spotted Pond Turtles:

  • Spotted pond turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) are characterized by yellow or white spots on their black heads, legs, and tails.
  • They have large heads, short snouts, and webbed feet for swimming.
  • Also known as Black Pond Turtles, Black Spotted Turtles, and Hamilton’s Terrapin.
  • They regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun and require warm water and suitable basking areas.
  • When retreating into their shells, they produce a soft croak.
  • Found in large, deep rivers in India, Assam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
  • Distribution in India includes the northern, northeastern, and some central regions.
  • Spotted pond turtles are primarily carnivorous and feed on aquatic invertebrates.
  • These turtles exhibit crepuscular behavior, being most active during twilight hours (dusk and dawn).
Conservation Status:
  • Classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Kaziranga National Park

  • Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam.
  • It is a World Heritage Site and hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses.
  • Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.
  • Along with the iconic Greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
  • Over the time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, and that’s the reason why Kaziranga was declared as Tiger Reserve in 2006.
  • Due to the difference in altitude between the eastern and western areas of the park, here one can see mainly four types of vegetation’ like alluvial inundated grasslands, alluvial savanna woodlands, tropical moist mixed deciduous forests, and tropical semi-evergreen forests.
  • Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, criss-crossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.
  • Kaziranga has flat expanses of fertile, alluvial soil, formed by erosion and silt deposition by the River Brahmaputra.
  • The history of Kaziranga as a protected area can be traced back to 1904 when the wife of the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon visited the area and persuaded to take measures to protect rhinoceros in the area.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023