Conservation centre built in Arjundhara to save turtlesThe sanctuary has over time become a learning hub for students
Sukhani Sahid Smriti Pratisthan has built a rescue and conservation centre in around three bighas of land in Salbari, Arjundhara Municipality for the conservation of endangered turtles.
Tanka Bhattarai, vice-chairman of the pratisthan, said they are taking this initiative to save endangered turtles in the country.
“We currently have seven species of turtles (more than 40 in number). All of them feature on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. We have established this Turtle Rescue and Conservation Centre solely to save these species,” he said.
According to the representatives of the pratisthan, the local government this year onwards has come forward to help them conserve turtles.
“We had been working towards turtle conservation since 2012. With the establishment of this centre, we will now be able to do that on a larger scale,” said Bhattarai.
The centre has planted trees, constructed ponds, managed open areas and built fences for the purpose.
Tapil Prakash Rai, a conservationist of the centre, said that they have conserved endangered Spotted Pond turtles found in Tangting and Biring streams in Jhapa. “We have started to collect endangered turtles from various streams and bring them to the centre for conservation,” he said.
Along with Spotted pond turtles, there are other endangered species like elongated tortoise, dark-throated leaf turtle, Indian peacock softshell turtle, Indian flapshell turtle, yellow-bellied roofed turtle and brown-roofed turtle in the centre, he said.
According to Rai, the centre also has over time become a learning hub for students who visit there from various cities.
The centre’s establishment also means zoology students from Jhapa have the opportunity to study about endangered turtles in their own district.
Sovit Adhikari, a BSc second-year student of zoology, said that they visit the conservation centre quite frequently to study the turtles.
The pratisthan has invested around Rs10 million for the conservation of turtles. Bhattarai said that the annual feeding cost for turtles is Rs 300,000. Meanwhile, Kamala Khatiwada, deputy mayor of Arjundhara Municipality, said that they are planning to allocate necessary budget to the centre for the coming fiscal year.