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KURMA App

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    27th Jul, 2020

Union Environment and Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar hailed the KURMA mobile application as a unique tool for tracking and reporting Indian turtles.

Context

Union Environment and Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar hailed the KURMA mobile application as a unique tool for tracking and reporting Indian turtles.

About

  • The Mobile Application, KURMA, was launched on 23rd May this year on the occasion of World Turtle Day. The citizen science initiative aims at the conservation of turtles and tortoises.
  • The mobile application has been developed by the Indian Turtle Conservation Action Network (ITCAN) in collaboration with the Turtle Survival Alliance-India and Wildlife Conservation Society-India.
  • It provides users the database to identify a species and also provides the location of the nearest rescue centre for turtles across the country.
  • It serves as a digital database, with a built-in digital field guide covering 29 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises of India, and information on turtle identification, distribution, vernacular names, and threats.
  • Freshwater turtles and tortoises are referred to as the ‘non-marine’ chelonians, as they lack the adaptation to survive in seawater.
  • Turtles are one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates – India is home to 28 species of non-marine Chelonians, of which 54% are listed as Threatened in the IUCN Red List.

Concerns

  • Tortoise and freshwater turtles are among the most trafficked in the country.
  • A report released in 2019 by TRAFFIC, showed that at least 200 tortoises and freshwater turtles fall prey to illicit poaching and smuggling every week.

World Turtle Day 2020

  • World Turtle Day is observed on May 23 annually. The day is celebrated to make people aware of turtle and tortoise and their habitats.
  • Every year since 2000, American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), a nonprofit organization, sponsors the celebrations for World Turtle Day.
  • Theme of World Turtle Day 2020: ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’.
  • The day was celebrated by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), along with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), in India.


One of the major challenges for freshwater turtle conservation in the country is that wildlife crime prevention agencies are not sufficiently equipped to know how to distinguish one species from the other, or their protection status under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and the Wildlife Protection Act

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