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Red Eared turtles – Burning Issues Free PDF Download

Red-eared turtle

  • Invasive species is posing a major threat to the biodiversity of waterbodies in the Kerala. This time, it is a cute red-eared slider turtle, a huge hit with pet lovers.
  • The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), also known as the red-eared terrapinred-eared slider turtlered-eared turtleslider turtle, and water slider turtle, is a semiaquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae.
  • A few days ago, a Class 6 student of St. Vincent Pallotthi Central School, Kalathode, got a medium-sized turtle while he was fishing in a canal at Kalathode.
  • He posted his catch on Facebook, which was noticed by Sandeep Das, a researcher at the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI).
  • Identifying the turtle, an exotic and major invasive species, he alerted the boy and cautioned them against releasing it back to the waterbody.

  • The red-eared slider turtle is the latest favourite of pet lovers, especially children, because of its small size and colour.
  • The small turtle can even be kept in a match box. But it grows fast. Adult turtles require lots of aquatic plants.
  • They are also omnivores. Once finding it difficult to keep them as they grow bigger, people sometimes release them into waterbodies. This turtle is considered as one of the world’s worst invasive species
  • Originated from the area around the Mississippi river and the Gulf of Mexico, they live in still and warm waterbodies such as ponds, lakes, streams, and slow- running rivers.
  • The red-eared slider turtles are considered a major threat to native turtle specials, as they mature fast, grow larger, and produce more offspring, and are very aggressive
  • They can out-compete native turtles for food, nestling, and basking sites. As they eat plants and animals, they can finish off a wide range of aquatic species, including fish and rare frogs.
  • Studies show that they can also transfer diseases and parasites to native reptile species. In many places such as Australia and the European Union, it is illegal to import and keep these turtles.

  • The NCBI has started a massive survey and restoration efforts to remove the red-eared slider turtle from the wild. It is also working on discouraging pet shops from selling the species and instructing pet owners not to release them to the wild

What is meant by exotic species?

  • Exotic species are the alien species which are also known by other names like invasive species, non-indigenous species or bioinvaders. These species grow in a non-native environment.

  • An alien species is a species introduced outside its normal distribution. According to experts, alien species become ‘invasive’ when they are introduced deliberately or accidentally outside their natural areas, where they out-compete the native species and upset the ecological balance.
  • The most common characteristics of invasive species are rapid reproduction and growth, high dispersal ability, ability to survive on various food types, and in a wide range of environmental conditions and the ability to adapt physiologically to new conditions, called phenotypic plasticity.
  • The movement of people and goods around the world increases the opportunity for the introduction of invasive species.
  • The most effective way to stop the negative impacts of Invasive species is through the prevention of spread by regulating the trade or movement of a species.
  • Once an Invasive Species has arrived, early detection, monitoring, and eradication can stop the species spreading.
  • Invasive species can have several negative impacts on the areas that they invade. Perhaps the most significant of these is the widespread loss of habitat.
  • Some invaders can physically alter the habitat in addition to destruction.
  • Other invasive species may not destroy habitat but can have an impact by killing large numbers of endemic species.
  • Invasive species can also impact human health. Invasive zebra mussels accumulate toxins in their tissues like PCB’s and PAH’s.
  • In addition to these impacts, invasive species can also have enormous economic costs.
  • Pink bloom, which emerged as a recent tourist attraction at Avalappandi Canal of Cheruvannur panchayat (near Perambra in Kozhikode), has become a major threat to the fresh waterbodies in Kerala.

Red Cabomba

  • Flowering invasive alien species, Red Cabomba (Cabombafurcata), a submerged perennial aquatic plant that grows in stagnant to slow-flowing freshwater.
  • Native to Central and South America, Cabomba is a common aquarium plant with beautiful flowers and excellently dissected leaves. International aquarium industry has been introducing them to areas outside of its native range.



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