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Critically endangered 'black softshell' turtle found in Betana

2023 Aug 26, 11:00, Belbari (Morang)
Pic: RSS

A new species of turtle has been found in Betana Wetland at Belbari in Morang. A team of scientists has discovered that there are more than two dozen Black Softshell turtles, listed as critically endangered.

"The turtle found in Betana Wetlands many years ago was locally called Peacock feathered turtle, but after seeing its shell, we realized that it is a new species of turtle for Nepal," said Ramchandra Adhikari, an environmental journalist and associate professor of zoology.

In the year 2022, a research conducted under the leadership of Austrian scientist Dr Peter Praschag with the support of RCO Nepal found turtle in Morang's Betana wetlands. The scientific name of this turtle is Nilssonia nigricans.

According to Tapil Prakash Rai, a member of the research team, the turtle is listed as a critically endangered species by the the IUCN. The soft-natured turtle, which prefers to mingle with people, weighs between 70 to 80 kg and around two dozen of them have been found in the Betana wetlands.

So far, 17 species of turtles and two subspecies have been found in Nepal. Of them 13 are with hard bones and four species have soft shells.


Betana wetlands Turtle Belbari Morang Peacock species
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