Indian biologist Shailendra Singh wins the Behler Turtle Conservation Award | Daily Current Affairs 2021

Indian biologist Shailendra Singh wins the Behler Turtle Conservation Award

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Behler turtle conservation Award

Behler turtle conservation Award: An Indian biologist Shailendra Singh recently won the Behler Turtle Conservation Award.


  • He has been awarded for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction.
  • The award was given by several global bodies involved in turtle conservation such as Turtle Survival Alliance, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and the Turtle Conservation Fund.

Key Points:

These three critically endangered turtles are being conserved as a part of TSA India’s research, conservation breeding and education programme in different parts of the country.

  1. The Red-crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga) at Chambal.
  2. The Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) at different temples in Assam.
  3. The Northern River Terrapin (Batagur Baska) is being conserved at the Sunderbans.

About Behler Turtle Conservation Award:

  • The Behler Turtle Conservation Award also referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of Turtle Conservation was established in 2006.
  • It is a major annual international award honoring excellence in the field of the tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation and biology, and leadership in the chelonian conservation and biology community.
  • It is co-presented by Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and Turtle Conservation Fund.

Key Details about the turtle species:

About Red Crowned Roofed Turtle:

  • Habitat: Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle is a species of freshwater turtle endemic to South Asia. The last known stronghold for this river turtle is on the Chambal River in central India, however, small isolated populations may still exist in the Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins.
  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule I
  • Threats: Loss or degradation of habitat due to pollution and large-scale development activities like water extraction for human consumption and irrigation and irregular flow from the upstream dams and reservoirs.

Black Softshell Turtle:

  • Habitat: They are found in ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh. Its distribution range also includes the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.
  • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
  • CITES Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: No legal protection
  • Threats: Consumption of turtle meat and eggs, silt mining, encroachment of wetlands, and change in flooding pattern.

About Northern River Terrapin:

  • Habitat: The species is currently found in Bangladesh (in the Sundarbans), Cambodia, India (parts- West Bengal & Odisha), Indonesia, and Malaysia. It is one of Asia’s largest freshwater and backwater turtles.
  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule I
  • Threats: Exploited for local subsistence and ritualistic consumption as well as some regional trade, including supply to the Calcutta markets in the 19th and 20th centuries.

About Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF):

  • TCF was established in 2002 as a partnership initiative of Conservation International, IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA).
  • Later, it was joined by other organizations.
  • The fund is focused on ensuring the long-term survival of tortoises and freshwater turtles.

About Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA):

  • It was formed in 2001 as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) partnership for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tortoises.

About IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG):

  • TFTSG is one of the more than 100 Specialist Groups and Task Forces that constitute the working network of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC).
  • It provides expertise and science-based recommendations with conservation relevance covering all species of freshwater and terrestrial turtles and tortoises.


  • The SSC is a science-based network of more than 7000 appointed volunteer specialists and experts from almost every country of the world.
  • They all work together towards achieving the vision of “a world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity.”

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