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River Terrapin | by Pandiyan
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River Terrapin

River Terrapin

Batagur baska

 

Among the largest of Asian river turtles, it is also the most endangered of all. This can grow upto 60 cms in length. Some places it is called Mangrove Terrapin as mangroves are the favourite haunt of these creatures.

 

Funny thing with Asian Turtles is that rarer they become, more they go up in value making survival even more difficult. Many fareastern societies use them in traditional medicine and these terrapins especially are a gourmet item fit for a king. In consolation it is also called the Royal Terrapin.

 

Peculiar features of this turtle include an upturned snout (which I have managed to catch) and four toes against five for other turtles (which I could not catch.)

 

Critically endangered in Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India; extinct in the wild in Thailand; presumed extinct in Myanmar and Vietnam. Main threats include diappearing mangroves, hunting for meat and eggs, indiscriminate fishing, loss of nesting beaches and so on.

 

Though there are efforts under way to revive the species, they are continuing to decline. For this species and many others, China and Hong Kong proves to be huge market where these species are not found at all. The turtle trade route from China extends all over Asia reaching all poorer and smaller nations and turtle trade flourishes regardless of restrictions.

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Taken on August 13, 2006