The wildlife department has lost a golden opportunity to study an endangered species of turtles hatched in its office at Renuka ji a few months ago. Sources said the department, instead of inviting experts to study and conduct research on the turtles, left them in the lake, reducing the chances of their survival.
However, the department has claimed that 55 more eggs have been preserved for hatching in two months, so research and study are still possible. On July 18, 2013, twelve hatchlings, belonging to the endangered species Indian peacock softshell, were born in the department premises, followed by some more hatchlings.
Officials claimed that they were “overwhelmed” by the spectacle.
However, sources alleged that the officials released the turtles into the lake last month, in spite of the fact that it is home to various species of fish, which may prey on them, reducing the chances of their survival.
Chief parliamentary secretary Vinay Kumar had announced earlier that a separate pond would be constructed for these turtles, but no attention was paid to the study of the hatchlings later. “Leaving the baby turtles in the lake at such an early stage is completely wrong, as it lessens the hope for their survival. For their long life, they should instead be kept preserved in a pond,” said sources.
“The life expectancy of the turtles is not high even in their breeding centres. It is good news that a few eggs have been preserved,” said wildlife expert Ajay Bahadur Singh. Some states, including Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, have established some protected areas for turtle hatching, but still their survival rate is very low.
The species hatched at Renuka ji is included in the red list of the world conservation union. The vulnerable species has been enlisted in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, in which trade and poaching of the turtle is strictly restricted. On September 28, 2012, Besu Ram, an employee of the wildlife department had spotted a female turtle laying eggs on the bank of Renuka lake near the Lion Safari.