Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Sal Forest Tortoise


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sal Forest Tortoise

Mains level : NA

A recent study by ecologists in the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, has found that the area designated as a protected area network has only a small overlap with the actual habitat of Sal forest tortoise. Over 90% of the potential distribution of the species falls outside the current protected area’s network.

What you should focus on?

On map, identify areas where Sal forest tortoise are found.

Revise the map of various Forest system of India and their characteristics as well.

Also…..Is tortoise a mammal or an amphibian?…..or something else??

Sal Forest/ Elongated Tortoise

  • Also known as the elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), the sal forest tortoise, recently assessed as Critically Endangered, is heavily hunted for food.
  • It is collected both for local use, such as decorative masks, and international wildlife trade.
  • The Sal forest tortoise is widely distributed over eastern and northern India and Southeast Asia.
  • It is one of the only four land tortoises found in India. It is legally protected under Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as amended up to 2006.
  • According to the IUCN, the population of the species may have fallen by about 80% in the last three generations (90 years).

About Sal Forest

  • It is a forest type dominated by a single plant species, commonly known as Sal tree (Shorea robusta).
  • It belongs to the category ‘Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest’.
  • The distribution of Sal forests is controlled by the conditions of topography, geology, and soil.
  • Sal forests are mainly distributed in the South and Southeast Asia, occurring along the base of Tropical Himalayas from Assam to Punjab, in the eastern districts of Central India, and on the Western Bengal Hills.

Also read the complete series on-

Natural Vegetation and Wildlife- Part 1 | An Overview of Natural Vegetation Types Found in India

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