Context: Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has hailed ‘KURMA Mobile App’ launched on the occasion of World Turtle Day.
About KURMA Mobile App
- It is a mobile application which will act as a unique tool for tracking and reporting Indian turtles.
- It has been developed by the Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN) in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance-India and Wildlife Conservation Society-India.
- It provides information on turtle identification, distribution, vernacular names and threats.
- It provides the location of the nearest rescue centre for turtles across the country.
- It serves as a digital database, with a built-in digital field guide covering 29 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises of India.
Threats faced by Indian Turtles
- Illegal trade or smuggling of Turtles: The illegal trade impacts primarily four species of softshell turtles (traded for food), as well as the Indian star tortoises and Spotted Pond turtles (for pet markets in Southeast Asia).
- Poaching & Drowning in Fishing Nets: Smuggling as well as poaching for eating by local people, have led to the decline in population of turtles in India.
- Habitat Loss: The degradation of habitat in the name of economic development is on the rise as most of the nesting sites for many of these turtles are located outside reserved or protected forest areas.
- Lack of Conservation Efforts as compared to other Animals: The conservation status to tigers, elephants and rhinos is much stronger as compared to smaller species, mostly involved in illegal trade.