H. T. Lalremsanga

THT Action Grant 2022

Project Name:

Population status and conservation of softshell turtles in Mizoram, India

Project Brief:

Turtles are integral to several aquatic ecosystems. Freshwater turtles are facing a rapid decline due to numerous reasons, namely habitat loss, climate change, and more infamously -- pet trade, and their meat and use in traditional medicines.

Northeast India is a hotspot for freshwater turtles and tortoises, home to 22 species of the 41 found in India, but not much is known about turtle distribution and population in Mizoram. H. T. Lalremsanga aims to remedy that. Softshell turtles in the Northeast are prized as a delicacy and a source of income so their conservation is understandably challenging. To combat this, Lalremsanga plans to map their population, distribution, and learn more about their habitats in Mizoram – all this while using a long-term, community-based approach, enlisting the help of local youth, researchers, and forest staff.

Lalremsanga and his team are conducting awareness campaigns across village communities, youth groups, education institutions, and NGOs. They are encouraging locals to support their efforts in observing and protecting turtle nesting sites, and in turtle rescuing. Lalremsanga has and plans to continue working with the forest department for large-scale knowledge sharing.

Project objectives:
  • Assessment of occurrence, distribution, and habitat use of softshell turtles throughout Mizoram
  • Dual-purpose surveys to gather information on current threats and conservation perceptions that locals have towards softshell turtles
  • Conduct conservation education, workshops, and awareness programs for local communities and other stakeholders
  • Develop a network of the local youth, researchers, and forest department for the protection and monitoring of potential natural hotspots for breeding and hatching of turtle species
Highlights from field:
  • This project is ongoing.