Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary
Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Varanasi District (25°44’58.25”N, 83°17’21.24”E) of Uttar Pradesh. The protected area is a 7 km stretch of Ganga River flowing through Varanasi city from Ramnagar Fort to Malviya Rail/Road Bridge. The Sanctuary was declared to ensure the survival of turtles released into the Ganga River in Varanasi. The turtles were released to promote organic removal of half-burnt human corpses which are dumped into the river after final rites under Hindu tradition. Due to sacred status of the river and the Varanasi (Kashi) city, people from far come to perform funeral rites of their family members and other near ones and often half burnt bodies and religious wastes are immersed into the river. To get rid of these and without hurting the sentiments of the people, the Ganga Action Plan supported the breeding and release of turtles into the river. The idea behind the action was that this will in turn nurture a good population of the already dwindling population of Indian softshell turtle.
A 'Turtle Rehabilitation Plan' was initiated, under which turtle breeding centres were set up in Sarnath (Varanasi) and Kukrail Forest (Lucknow). At the Sarnath centre, eggs of the species were brought from Chambal River. From 1987-1992, 28,920 turtles were released into the Ganga River, and during 2005-2006, 1549 turtles were released into the river. The Sanctuary is also home to the Gangetic Dolphin, other species of turtles and several species of fish including Rohu, Tengra and Bhakur
Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary: On one side is sandy bank with few shops and less disturbance ideal for turtle nesting and on the other bank is Varanasi town
Last Updated: December 1, 2016