Population and Habitat Status of Freshwater Turtles and
Tortoises of Bangladesh and Their Conservation Aspects
MD. SOHRAB UDDIN SARKER and MD. LOKMAN HOSSAIN
Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
ABSTRACT: Twenty-eight species of turtles and tortoises are reported to occur in Bangladesh; 21 are freshwater, two are terrestrial, and the remaining five are marine. Bangladesh earns an average of U.S. $600,000 dollars per year from the export of freshwater turtles such as Aspideretes hurum, A. gangeticus, Chitra indica, Lissemys punctata, Morenia petersi, Hardella thurjii, and Kachuga tecta. Dried shells and turtle oil are also exported. Turtles are collected from their breeding grounds and exported, primarily during winter months when most of the females are gravid. Wild populations of these reptiles are in rapid decline from overexploitation, and habitats are being rapidly destroyed as a result of the increase in human population, urbanization, development of roads and highways, sand mining, expansion of agriculture, modern irrigation, widespread use of agrochemicals, drainage of wetlands, and deforestation.
The lack of educational programs to increase environmental awareness, limited research and conservation programs, and economic conditions also contribute to these declines. Both national and international cooperation are essential for conservation and management of these turtles.