A project of Wildlife Survival Fund: Investing in endangered species before it’s too late.



Geographic Location

Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), along the Ghaghra River in North India

Focal Species

Black softshell turtle

IUCN Red List Status of Focal Species

Extinct in the wild

About the Project

Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) developed a plan to implement effective conservation strategies targeting threatened freshwater turtles in the five Turtle Priority Areas (TPA) in India, including Terai Arc Landscape (TAL). TAL has been recognized as one of the top 200 Global Biodiversity Hotspots in need of conservation (WWF, 2000). Additionally, the area supports more than 50% of India’s freshwater turtle species, the main target species being the Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle (Chitra indica) and crowned river turtle (Hardella thurjii). Major threats faced by the chelonian fauna in the region are poaching for trade and consumption, drowning in fishing nets, and riparian agriculture among others. TSA’s India program has been implementing a range of conservation initiatives such as trade monitoring, education and awareness, poacher conversion workshops and population monitoring. To further strengthen this campaign, TSA-India has recently established a Community Conservation Centre at a strategic location in TAL, along the Ghaghra River. The objective of the centre is to provide a platform for programs, where we can interact with and train representatives from local fishing villages and riverside schools. We aim to promote conservation awareness and alternate livelihood practices, which will have minimal impact on the immediate riverine environment and threatened fauna. 


western pond turtle

Turtles at Woodland Park Zoo
Zoo visitors will find a variety of turtle species at Woodland Park Zoo’s Day Exhibit, which explores the diversity of reptile and amphibian species and the threats to their conservation.


To learn more:

Read the reptile and amphibian fact sheet