Nagaland Zoological Park Has Largest Assurance Colony For Asian Giant Tortoise - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland Zoological Park has largest assurance colony for Asian Giant Tortoise

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Oct 04, 2023 9:28 pm

DIMAPUR — The Asian Giant Tortoise or Manouria emys, which weighs about 37 kg and is also called ‘the small elephants’ of the forests, has been sighted in the Northeast region since 2022, revealed Sushmita Kar, the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) foundation India project coordinator,  on Wednesday.

Kar said during the occasion of Wildlife Week 2023 at the Nagaland Zoological Park (NZP) in Rangapahar, Dimapur, Asia’s largest tortoise is a native species to Nagaland and the NZP has the largest assurance colony for the species in India with close to 100 juveniles from 2019-2023 along with 10 founders (adults).

Saving manouria can save forests at landscape level and the Asian Giant Tortoise is one of the focal species conserved by the Nagaland Forest department, she said.

There are 29 species of tortoise in India and 10 are found in Nagaland, she said while lamenting tortoises being hunted for consumption and illegal trade. 

Kar highlighted that conservation breeding at the NZP is done with donation through awareness, nest protection, breeding enclosure construction, artificial incubation and hatching of eggs, the right diet and health assessment and zoo keeper’s training. She added that monitoring is conducted through observations of dietary preferences, the use of gradients in the form of hideouts, puddles and feed and regular patrolling.

The way forward, Kar said, is a declaration of Lishyomo Hills in Sanis Wokha district as a community conservation reserve and area demarcation by coordinating with the villages (land owners), and drafting of proposal to be submitted to the Government of Nagaland in 2024.

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By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Oct 04, 2023 9:28:17 pm
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