In news- Indian biologist Shailendra Singh has been awarded the Behler Turtle Conservation Award. He has immensely contributed to bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species – Red-crowned Roofed Turtle, Northern River Terrapin and Black Softshell Turtle, back from the brink of extinction.
- Shailendra Singh was named to lead the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)/ Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) India turtle programme.
- There are 29 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises in India.
- These critically endangered turtles are being conserved as a part of TSA India’s research, conservation breeding and education programme in different parts of the country.
- The Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska) is being conserved at the Sunderbans; the Red-crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga) at Chambal; and the Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) at different temples in Assam.
About the award-
- John L. Behler was an American naturalist, herpetologist, author, and activist known for his work in conserving endangered species of turtles, snakes, and other reptiles.
- The Behler Turtle Conservation Award was established in 2006 to recognise outstanding achievements, contributions and leadership excellence in international turtle conservation and biology.
- The award is co-presented by the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), the Turtle Conservancy (TC), and the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF).
- The award was established by Anders Rhodin and Rick Hudson, with the TSA and TFTSG as co-presenters from 2006 to 2013, and joined in 2014 by the TC and TCF as co-presenters.
- Currently, the award carries an honorarium of $5000, with the awardee determined through a broad-based nomination and selection process.
- It is widely considered the “Nobel Prize” of turtle conservation and biology.