Rare N nigricans turtle species facing extinction
PTI | Jun 19, 2013, 10.18 AM IST

AGARTALA: The soft-shell N nigricans turtles, a rare species found only in the tank of the Tripureswari Temple in Gomati district of Tripura, is facing extinction.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had classified that specimen, popularly known as Bostami turtle, as extinct in the wild.

The fifteenth century temple constructed by king Dhanyamanikya in Udaipur, 55 km from Agartala, is believed to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the country and considered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.

It is also known as Kurma Pitha because the temple premises resembles 'Kurma' i.e. turtle.

The rare species of Bostami turtles inhabit the Kalyan Sagar lying in the eastern side of the temple.

Spread over 6.4 acres, it was a natural habitat of the turtles. They come up to the shore looking for crumbs that visitors buy at the nearby stalls and feed to these reptiles, as part of the rituals. Devotees feed them with puffed rice and biscuits.

The Matabari temple committee cemented the banks of the lake about a decade ago killing turtles.

Death of at least seven tortoises were reported within a year of constructions of the cemented embankments in 1998, officials of the state fisheries department said.

Visitors, tourists, pilgrims and devotees are throwing plastic carry bags every day into the lake. As a result the bed of the lake is now full of polythene/plastics bags.