Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle | 25 Nov 2022

Why in News?

At its 19th Meeting in Panama, the Conference of Parties to CITES adopted India's proposal to move Leith's Softshell Turtle from Appendix II to Appendix I.

  • India’s proposal for inclusion of Jeypore Hill Gecko (Cyrtodactylus jeyporensis) in Appendix II.

What is the Significance of the Listing?

  • The CITES Appendix I listing of this Turtle species would ensure that legal international trade in the species does not take place for commercial purposes.
  • It would also ensure that international trade in captive-bred specimens only takes place from registered facilities and further that higher and more proportionate penalties are provided for illegal trade of the species.
  • The listing of the Leith’s soft-shell turtle, thereby, strengthens its CITES protection status to ensure better survival of the species.

What is Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle?

  • About:
    • Leith’s Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia leithii) is a large freshwater soft-shelled turtle which is endemic to peninsular India and it inhabits rivers and reservoirs.
  • Threats:
    • The species has been subject to intensive exploitation over the past 30 years.
    • It has been poached and illegally consumed within India. It has also been illegally traded abroad for meat and for its calipee.
    • The population of this turtle species is estimated to have declined by 90% over the past 30 years such that the species is now difficult to find.
  • Protection Status:

Source: PIB