Our mission is to foster conservation of biodiversity in Northeast India through research, environmental education, capacity building and advocacy for legal and policy reform to usher a new era of ecological security.
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Turtle Study Area

Turtles and Tortoises of Northeast India: Saving them from Extinction!

Aims and Objectives
  • Survey wild turtles and tortoises in protected and non-protected areas and major turtle markets in the region.
  • Identify viable turtle population, prepare distribution maps using GIS techniques and assess threats to their existence.
  • Evaluate present conservation measures and wherever necessary propose new strategies based on new information.
  • Initiate research on selected species and/or populations to gather biological information, which is very important for long-term conservation of these species.
  • Outreach programme for local people especially youth and publish education materials.

The CEPF Small Grants Programme has supported the study in two important corridors, (1) Mehao-Jamjing and Sengagon, (2) Nameri-Eagles's Nest and Sessa in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh while the conservation Leadership Programme has supported the study in rest of the region.

Methods

Survey

Field survey will be carried out in protected areas, community or private land or water. The team members will visit prioritized areas on road and trails guided by knowledgeable local guides or forest staff. Observations and all relevant information will be recorded on data sheet including habitat, activities, GPS location and. Baited Hoop Traps (Legler, 1960) and Basking traps will be used in selected localities on trial basis to gather information on population. Hunters, traders and collectors will be interviewed to learn more about their distribution, habitat, and extent of exploitation. Major markets and villages around forests and wetlands will be investigated to evaluate present and past exploitation trend.

Mapping Distribution

Present and past localities of turtle occurrences will be recorded using handheld GPS and then locations will be plotted on habitat map using the software ARCVIEW (ESRI, 1999) to know the extent of present and past distribution. Information related to trade, habitat and vulnerability will be added to the map, as well as information on population status whenever available.

Evaluation of Conservation Measures

Present conservation measures will be evaluated through group discussion among field team, experts and conservation management authorities. Later based on the outcome of the discussions new conservation strategies will be proposed for further implementation by the management authorities and communities.

Outreach

An outreach programme will be designed to motivate local people, especially youth, and garner their support to attend the call of turtle crisis in the region. Suitable education materials will be published and targeted at the youth. Selected youth will be motivated and involved in continuous monitoring of turtles in the wild, as well as trade in the local market.

Follow up

Most threatened species, viable population and suitable sites will be identified during this study based on the field data. The team along with experts and other collaborators will consult to prepare a list of priority species to initiate natural history study in the wild, which will in turn provide valuable information for conservation and management of those species in the wild or in captivity.

Expected Output
Diversity of turtles and tortoises- site specific, state and regional.
Assess status of turtles and tortoises- site specific, state, regional and national.
Assessment of exploitation level in the local market and any trade links.
Present and past distribution map in respect to presence, absesnce and habitat availability.
Identification of critically threatened species and selection of sites for follow up research and conservation work.
Motivate 100 youth for turtle conservation throughout the region.
Capacity building and skill development of three local biologists in turtle conservation and research.
Production of a booklet on turtles in local language.
A report for managers, policy makers, national and international science and conservation communities. And scientific publications in a peer reviewed journal.
Learning for team members from field experience and mistakes and self evaluation to deliver better in future.

Budget

This project has secured US$29,200 from the Conservation Leadership Programme (US$12,500), the CEPF Small Grants Programme (US$13,200) from and a leverage amount of US$3,500 from Aaranyak.

To know more about this initiative please contact us at info@aaranyak.org

With support from: -