Published on: November 26, 2022

Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle

Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle

Why in news?

India’s proposal for transferring Leith’s Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia leithi) from Appendix II to Appendix I of the CITES has been adopted by the Conference of Parties (CoP) to CITES


  • The species is listed on Schedule IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, which gives it protection from hunting as well as trade.
  • Poaching and illegal trade of protected turtle species is a major challenge in India with seizures of thousands of specimens reported every year

How this provides protection ?

  • The CITES Appendix I listing of this Turtle species would ensure that legal international trade in the species does not take place for commercial purposes.
  • It would also ensure that international trade in captive-bred specimens only takes place from registered facilities and further that higher and more proportionate penalties are provided for illegal trade of the species.

Leith’s softshell turtle

  • Large fresh water soft-shelled turtle and it inhabits rivers and reservoirs.
  • Distribution : Found in peninsular Indian rivers including the Bhavani, Godavari, and Moyar Rivers.
  • Endemic: Peninsular India in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha
  • IUCN status: Critically Endangered