Biswanath Chariali: The lives of the age-old turtles found in the big pond known as Borpukhuri located in the premises of the historical temple Nag Shanker Devalaya situated at Nag Shanker under Chatiya Legislative Assembly Constituency in Biswanath district, are at stake due to the indiscriminating deeds of some people who throw polythene packets of food into the pond.
These turtles have been the centre of attraction for visitors for ages. Visitors offer various food items to the turtles and enjoy the sight of the turtles taking the food. According to information, the turtles have been affected by some kind of disease and some of them have already lost their lives. The water in the pond too has become polluted.
Devotees offer food to the turtles in the Nag Shanker Devalaya temple to get their wishes fulfilled. The number of turtles has been increasing in the pond. On the other hand, the local people in the surrounding areas of the temple do not consume the meat of turtles as a sign of respect to the deity Nag Shanker, another name of Lord Shiva. Thus, it has helped the process of conservation of this endangered species.
Chatiya MLA Padma Hazarika took special initiative for the survival of the turtles and invited turtle specialist Dr Raghavendra Sharma from Lucknow. With the help of Parimal Chandra Rai, coordinator of Turtle Survival Alliance India, Dr Sharma has started to provide treatment to the ailing turtles. The turtles have been shifted to nearby wetlands with utmost care after treating them. The water of the big pond has also been pumped out and cleaned. The turtles will be brought back again only when the pond is filled naturally with rain water during the coming monsoon.
The team of Dr Sharma was provided a helping hand by Biswanath Wildlife Division, Sonitpur East Division, Assam Wildlife Rescue and Research Organization, Tezpur Central University, Delhi Amity University and the Temple Management Committee in this endeavor.
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