‘Community ponds: a tool for conservation’. A case study of Nilssonia gangetica (Cuvier, 1825) in Kashipur village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Debanjan Sarkar, Anuja Mital, Raja Mondal, R. Suresh Kumar, Gautam Talukdar

Abstract


Ganges Softshell turtle (Nilssonia gangetica), a species listed as Vulnerable, is generally associated with the major river systems of northern India. However, anecdotal records indicate this species has strong associations with community and temple ponds. Connectivity between rivers and these ponds play an important role in the exchange of individuals between wetlands thus maintaining viable healthy populations of the species in the landscape. This article details a survey of a pond (area 3381 m²) in Kashipur village, Uttar Pradesh, to investigate the current status of a large population of Nilssonia gangetica. The ponds were found to be extremely polluted with solid and liquid garbage and under several landscape level pressures impeding connectivity which threatens the survival and fitness of this population. We also review the implications of such community and temple ponds and their future in conserving these threatened turtles.


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