Last Monday, when our gardeners came to the lake expecting a day of routine work, little did they know what awaited them. On the revetment near the southern side, was a small tortoise that they had never seen before in our lake. Excitedly, they sent us the pictures of the tortoise with a distinctive golden brown star-like pattern on the hard shell. We’d never seen one like it either but there was no mistaking it - it was the Indian star tortoise! Wasn’t it an endangered species? We quickly looked up online and also contacted our in-house wildlife experts, Vishnupriya and J.N. Prasad.
The Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises with its distinctive carapace, is found in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Extensive poaching for the exotic pet trade has reduced their number and threatened their existence.
To keep the tortoise safe, we took it out from the revetment and put it in an open basket. Vishnupriya and J.N. Prasad came by to see our exotic find and to guide us on how to take care of it. They also told us to contact Mr. Ganesh, RFO, Bannerghatta National Park or Dr. Roopa Satish at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. We contacted both of them and arranged to send the reptile over. Meanwhile, we got some greens, carrot and cauliflower for it to eat and placed the basket in our office room for the night. The next morning we shifted our “guest” into a cardboard carton and kept it outside to bask in the sun. We watched quietly as it popped its head out, walked toward the feed and started eating.
Two days later, on Wednesday morning, we took it to the RFO’s office and handed it over to them safely. Our job was done. Today morning, we received this update from Mr. Ganesh:
The star tortoise is under preliminary medical care at Bannerghatta and will be released to wild after a week of observation for possible infection due to human contact. Thanks for a saving a precious endangered wildlife. It makes a huge difference in protecting the species on this planet.
Bannerghatta National Park
We still wonder how it came to the lake. Did someone develop cold feet and drop it off for fear of being caught? Whatever the reason, we are glad that we were able to rescue and rehabilitate an endangered Indian star tortoise.
For more pictures, please click on the link below:
One could not have asked for a better start to the new year at the lake.
Four young boys - Aryan, Arjun, Aadarsh and Rohan with their respective parents came with smiles and enthusiasm which only a child can bring to our world. There were four children and five adults who enjoyed the sun lit lake while doing their bit in helping the lake.
The children loved pruning the hedges, then raking the leaves and wheeling it away in a wheel barrow. They shared their pruning scissors, the wheel barrow and rakes with each other (the pictures say it all!). The excitement in finding a red powder puff flower, a green color spider and a snail shell was contagious. At the end, each couldn't stop asking for more gardening time and made their parents promise to bring them again to the next Family fun gardening day.
We hope to see them and more children, and you in our next session.
See the mail below from Dr. S. Subramanya, renowned birder and conservationist.
This is a great opportunity for all of us to showcase the status of our wetlands and waterbirds in Bangalore. Since the High Court has evinced keen interest in knowing the status of our waterbirds and their wetlands in light of the 1989 Midwinter Waterfowl Census, I feel it is our collective responsibility to rise to the occasion to survey our wetlands for waterbirds. The results of the census that we showcase in comparison to the 1989 survey will have unending impact, where the judiciary can see how our waterbird status have changed due to mindless development of their habitats. The decisions that the High Court may take will have far-reaching effects to influence the way one needs to treat our waterbodies as waterbird habitats, not just in Bangalore, but across the country.
Let us show to everyone across the country that we care for our birds that we love to watch and their habitats in our city.
Please go, Register and lend your time and support for counting birds this January.
I am committed to this 100%. Rain or shine, I will go.