General

Critically-endangered Batagur Baska lays 34 eggs in the Sundarbans

Another Batagur Baska, a rare species of river turtle, has laid 34 eggs at Wildlife Breeding Centre in Karamjal in the Sundarbans.

The tortoise laid these eggs on the bank of the pond of the breeding center on Saturday night. The Forest Department is trying to hatch the babies naturally by keeping the eggs covered with sand, said Azad Kabir, in-charge of the centre.

The eggs are kept in a specific temperature and humidity in the breeding center area and are constantly monitored.

The forest department said the eggs are expected to hatch after 65-67 days.

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

In 2017, two turtles of the same species laid 63 eggs, of which 57 hatched. In 2018, two turtles laid 46 eggs, of which 26 hatched. In 2019, one turtle laid 32 eggs and all of them hatched, while in 2020, two turtles laid 56 eggs of which 52 hatched. Till 2021, 241 tortoises have hatched from these eggs.

Research on this rare species of tortoise is underway in the Sundarbans.

According to Azad Kabir, two tortoises fitted with GPS transmitter satellites were released from Karamjal in 2017, five each in 2018 and 2019 in different rivers and canals of the Sundarbans to get information about the life cycle, reproduction and numbering of endangered Batagur Baska tortoises.

Of the 12 turtles with satellites, one died in Barisal in 2018, two were roaming in India, and two were caught in the nets of fishermen after roaming different rivers and canals.

Later, the two turtles were rescued from the fishermen and kept in the pond of Karamjal Wildlife Breeding Center. They do not know the current location of the remaining of the turtles fitted with satellites.

In 2014, this turtle breeding center was set up in the pond of Karamjal Wildlife Breeding Center in the Sundarbans with 11 male and four female tortoises of Batagur Baska species. Later, a few more baby turtles were collected from different areas and released in the pond.

Source: United news of Bangladesh