Distribution of Freshwater Turtles in Punjab, Pakistan


Punjab Wildlife Research Institute, Gatwala, Faisalabad, Pakistan


A total of 3528 specimens of freshwater turtles belonging to two families viz., Geoemydidae (Brown River Turtle, Kachuga smithi; Indian Saw-backed turtle, K. tecta; Brahminy Rrive Turtle, Hardella thurgi; Spotted Pond Turtle, Geoclemys hamiltonii) and Trionychidae (Indian Soft-shell Turtle, Aspederates gangeticus; Peacock Soft-shell Turtle, A.hurum; Narrow-headed Soft-shell Turtle, Chitra indica; Indian Flap-shell Turtle, Lissemys punciata) were identified. Kachuga smithi (43.62%) and K.tecta (42.06%) had abundant population status, whereas, Hardella thurgi (0.88%) and Chitra indica (0.54%) were rare. Capturing of turtles for supply to foreigners and export is a major threat to these animals. Fishermen also kill them during fishing. Canal closure and de-silting is also harmful to turtles. It is concluded that it is necessary to provide immediate legal protection/coverage to all turtle species under the Punjab Wildlife Act, 1974, Pakistan; otherwise turtle species will become extinct.