Rare Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) | UPSC

Rare Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) | UPSC | Why In The News ?

Recently, the Assam forest department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two NGOs and adopted a Vision Document to raise at least 1,000 black softshell turtles by 2030.

Assam to raise 1,000 critically endangered black softshell turtles by 2030

Rare Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) | UPSC
Rare Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) | UPSC

About Black Softshell Turtle

  • The black softshell turtle or Bostami turtle, previously placed in genus Aspideretes, is a species of freshwater turtle found in India and Bangladesh.
  • Observation of the World Sea Turtle Day on 16th June every year

Scientific Name: Nilssonia nigricans


  • They are found in ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh. 
  • Its distribution range also includes the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.


  • Consumption of turtle meat and eggs, 
  • Silt mining
  • Encroachment of wetlands 
  • Change in flooding pattern.

Protection Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: No legal protection

Turtle Conservation Programmes In India

National Marine Turtle Action Plan:

  • It contains ways and means to not only promote inter-sectoral action for conservation but also guide improved coordination amongst the government, civil society and all relevant stakeholders.

Indian Ocean Sea Turtle Agreement (IOSEA)

  • India is a signatory to the Indian Ocean Sea Turtle Agreement (IOSEA) of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
  • It puts in place a framework through which States of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asian region and other concerned States can work together to conserve and replenish depleted marine turtle populations for which they share responsibility.

Read Also : Crocodile UPSC | World Crocodile Day 17 June


  • It has a built-in digital field guide covering 29 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises of India.
  • Developed by: Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN) in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance-India and Wildlife Conservation Society-India.

About MOU : 

  • This multi-stakeholder association also involves the State Zoo cum Botanical Garden and the Kamrup district administration.
  • The conservation pact aims to restock the wild with viable, self-sufficient and genetically pure threatened turtle populations in the region.
  • Vision Document 2030 was also launched which sets in motion a plan to have an ecologically viable population of 1000 adult black softshell turtles in Assam by 2030.
  • It will offer assistance for the required improvement of husbandry of turtles kept in temple ponds and further recovery efforts for the long-term survival and existence of the turtles.
  • It will spread mass awareness on the conservation issues of all species of turtles in the region while working on threats and opportunities to strengthen the turtle population in Assam.
  • proposal was also mooted for retaining the hatchlings from eastern Assam at the Nature Discovery Centre at Biswanath Ghat run by Turtle Survival Alliance India for proper upkeep and monitoring before they are released in the wild.

Source : The Hindu & Indian Express 

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