Updated February 22nd, 2024 at 12:41 IST

Incredibly Rare Turtle Discovered In Kerala Along The Chandragiri River Goes Viral | See First Pics

Viral Video: The effort saved eggs from flooded nests and allowed observers to witness the first female nest.

Reported by: Pritam Saha
Kerala: Rare Turtle Discovered | Image:X
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Kerala: An expedition of naturalists, under the direction of the University of Portsmouth, discovered the 'secretive' Cantor's giant softshell turtle's nesting location.The species, which is found only in the rivers of south and southeast Asia, is considered severely endangered. On the Chandragiri River's banks in Kerala, southern India, the elusive turtle was discovered.

Secretive-Natured Turtle

Conservationists have long been fascinated by and concerned about this species, which was reportedly noted for its scarcity and secretive nature. In a media interaction, Dr. Francoise Cabada-Blanco of the university's school of biological sciences stated, “With sightings so rare that the turtle's very presence seemed like a ghost from the past, the Cantor turtle's existence has barely been a murmur against the backdrop of India's bustling biodiversity for years."

Secretive Cantor's giant softshell turtle

Difficulties In Locating The Nest 

The research team tried a different strategy after multiple failed attempts to locate the nest using traditional ecological survey techniques. They pieced together the precise location of the nest using prior sightings and local knowledge. Locals told stories of historical sightings, and Dr. Cabada-Blanco claimed the team was able to "engage the community really effectively"; in fact, the people “aided in the live release of individuals accidentally caught as by-catch.”

As a result of the work, the first female nest was observed and eggs were saved from flooded nests. Later, hatchlings were thrown into the river. Large softshell turtles known as Cantor's giants inhabit watery environments, with individual species reaching lengths of over 1 meter (3 feet) and weights exceeding 100 kilograms (220 pounds). Right now, the group is attempting to establish a community hatchery and nursery close to the discovery site.

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 12:41 IST