Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle

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Recently, conservationists from the University of Portsmouth uncovered the nesting site of the "secretive" Cantor's giant softshell turtle on the banks of the Chandragiri River in Kerala.

About Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle

  • It is also known as the Asian giant softshell turtle and the frog-faced softshell turtle.
  • It is a species known for its rarity and secretive nature.
  • It spends most of its life buried and motionless, with only their eyes and mouth protruding from the sand.
  • It surfaces only twice a day to take a breath and capture their prey by sit-and-wait strategy using an element of surprise.
  • These turtles are primarily carnivores (piscivores) feeding on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
  • Distribution: It is found in eastern and southern India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, eastern and southern China.
  • Habitat: They inhabit inland, slow-moving, freshwater rivers, lakes, streams, and estuaries.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Critically endangered
    • CITES: Appendix II
    • Wildlife Protection Act,1972 : Schedule I 
  • Threats: Habitat destruction has made it disappear from much of its environment. They are also heavily harvested by locals for meat.

Q1) What is CITES?

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is an international agreement between governments. It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

Source: First-ever nesting report of incredibly rare giant softshell turtle