Kendrapara: A rare and endangered Indian peacock softshell turtle was caught Friday in a fishing net in the Brahmani river in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, an official said.
The turtle, protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, was netted on Thursday near Jayakunda village, close to the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, the official said.
The fisherman, Kailash Barik, will be rewarded Rs 1,000 for handing over the protected reptile to the Forest Department.
The rare turtle was later released into the river water, Rajnagar Mangrove Divisional Forest Officer JD Pati said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put the species as ‘vulnerable’ in its Red List, noting the turtle is heavily exploited for its meat and calipee — the outer cartilaginous rim of the shell.
The turtle is mainly found in northern and central India, Bangladesh, Nepal and eastern Pakistan, according to the IUCN.