Written by Priya Kujur, a grade 11 student
A yellow rare turtle has been spotted in Eastern India on 19 July 2020.
A farmer named Basudev Mahapatra was working in his field in the village of Sujanpur of Balasore district, Odisha, when he spotted the turtle. The villagers handed over that yellow turtle to the forest official, Susanta Nanda. This kind of rare yellow turtle is also known as Indian Flapshell Turtle.
The Executive Director at the Association for Biodiversity Conservation, Siddharta Pati said that the Turtle was an adult of maybe one and a half and two years old. He also said that a rare yellow turtle is a type of albinism disorder.
What is Albinism?
It’s a genetic disorder resulting in white hair, skin, scales, feather and pink eyes in mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibian and invertebrate. Albinism is also known as “albino”.
In the case of turtles, a pure white colour is impossible, even with albinism – that is why the yellow colour. It is believed that albinism can reduce the lifespan of an animal. However, albino turtles can have longer lifespan than other albino animals.
“Albinism” can occur for a number of reasons aside from inheritance, including genetic mutations, diet, living conditions, age, disease, or injury.
The region where it’s found
A rare yellow turtle is commonly found in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar & Bangladesh.
What we know
There are 356 species of turtles in the world. According to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), 25 species of turtles are now in the endangered list.
What does being endangered mean?
Endangered species are those which are at serious risk of extinction. Some of the names of endangered species of turtles are
- Yangtze giant softshell turtle
- The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle
- .Yunnan box turtle
- Northern river terrapin
- Nubian flapshell turtle
- Cantor’s giant softshell turtle
So, the conclusion is that we need to protect the rare and vulnerable species of animals as they are also part of nature, otherwise they will become endangered.
What has the government done for the welfare of wildlife?
According to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 following are the turtles (not tortoises) that are not permitted to kept as pets. If someone is found rearing these turtles, they will be punishable according to the act,
- Audithia Turtle
- Ganges Soft Shelled Turtle
- Green Sea Turtle
- Hawksbill Turtle
- Indian Soft Shelled Turtle
- Leathery Turtle
- Logger Head Turtle
- Peacock Marked Soft Shelles Turtle – Schedule 1
- Three Kneeled Turtle – Schedule 3
- Red Crowned Roofed Turtle
- Black Pond Turtle
- Tricarinate Hill Turtle
- Eyed Turtle
- Indian Roofed Turtle
- Bog Turtle
Indian turtles are illegal to be kept as pets but, turtles imported from outside the country are legal, as they are not an Indian breed. But, in my opinion, none of the turtles should be tamed – be they from our country or from outside.
Here’s the video of a rare yellow turtle shared by the forest official Sushanta Nanda
In the post shared by him with the close-up view of the turtle, he said “Remark the pink eyes, one indicative feature of albinism”.
Some amazing facts about Turtle:
1. Turtles belong to one of the oldest reptile groups in the world.
2. Some turtles are carnivores (meat-eaters), others are herbivores (plant eaters) and some are omnivores ( both meat and plant eaters).
3. Turtles are “amniotes- they breathe air and lay their eggs on land. Although many species live in near or around water.
4. Turtles are cold-blooded, which results in a long lifespan.
5. They live till about 100 years.
Note: World Turtle Day is celebrated every year on May 23rd.