Turtle Rearing in
Centre for Herpetology / Madras Crocodile Bank,
Post Bag 4, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu 603 104, India
ABSTRACT: In India, the commercial turtle meat industry is largely concentrated in the state of West Bengal, where thousands of turtles of numerous species, caught mainly in neighboring states, are sent to be sold in markets. Though most species are protected under the Wildlife Act, the trade continues. In West Bengal alone, several traditionally exploited species, including the large Batagur baska and Aspideretes spp., are virtually extirpated.
Most of the turtles used for meat are hardy and omnivorous and can be reared in captivity. The flapshell turtle, Lissemys punctata, is particularly well suited to rearing in small impoundments of water. Fish are often reared for home consumption and sale in small ponds or tanks in villages in West Bengal. This paper proposes a pilot project to rear Lissemys in village ponds for human consumption, which, if successful, could help ease the present heavy pressure from human exploitation on wild turtle populations.