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Threat to lives of Nag Shanker temple turtles

By Correspondent

BISWANATH CHARIALI, March 5 - Hundreds of turtles found in the big pond known as Borpukhuri located on the premises of historical temple, Nag Shanker Devalaya situated at Nag Shanker under Sootea Legislative Assembly constituency in Biswanath district have been a centre of attraction for the visitors for ages. Visitors offer various food items to the turtles and enjoy the sight. Thus, it helps in the process of conservation of these endangered species.

Unfortunately, the lives of these age-old turtles are at stake at present due to the thoughtless deeds of some short-sighted people who throw food in polythene packets into the pond. According to information, the turtles were affected by some kind of disease and some of them have already lost their lives. The water in the pond has become so polluted that it has led to the said disaster for these creatures.

It needs to be mentioned here that the devotees offer turtles in the temple to get their wishes fulfilled and thus, the number of turtles has been increasing day-by-day in the pond. On the other hand, the local people in the surrounding areas of the temple don�t consume the meat of turtles as a sign of respect to the deity, Nag Shanker, another name of Lord Shiva.

Meanwhile, Sootea MLA Padma Hazarika has taken a special initiative for the conservation 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 providing treatment to the ailing turtles. The turtles have been shifted to nearby wetlands with utmost care after their treatment. 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 endeavour.

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