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A Study on Sal Forest Tortoise

  • 12 May 2020
  • 2 min read

Why in News

A recent study by ecologists in the Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun), finds that over 90% of the potential distribution of the Sal forest tortoise falls outside the current protected area’s network.

Key Points

  • The study covers parts of India with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
  • The Study found that in northeast India, the representation of the sal forest tortoise in protected areas (such as reserves, sanctuaries, etc.) is least.
  • The study also found that 29% of the predicted distribution of the species falls within high occurrence fire zones.
    • The species experience jhum fire in northeast India, which is a suitable habitat for the species.
    • Such an intervention may not only directly kill the animals but result in loss of habitat.
  • According to the IUCN, the population of the species may have fallen by about 80% in the last three generations (90 years).

Sal Forest Tortoise

  • Sal Forest Tortoise is also known as the elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata).
  • Habitat: It is widely distributed over eastern as well as northern India and Southeast Asia.
  • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered.
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule IV
  • Threat: Hunted for food, local use such as decorative masks and international wildlife trade.

Wildlife Institute of India

  • Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It was established in 1982.
  • It is based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • It offers training programs, academic courses, and advisory in wildlife research and management.


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