May 23: World Turtle Day
Every year May 23 is celebrated as the World Turtle Day as an annual observance aimed at protecting turtles and tortoises and their rapidly disappearing habitats across the world.
The celebrations was started in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue (ATR). Since then it is celebrated every year to create awareness about the world’s oldest living reptiles in the world.
The greatest threats faced by the turtles and tortoises in India is smuggling. They are smuggled every year in large numbers to East Asian and Southeast Asian markets. They are smuggled live to these countries. Apart from the live specimens, the eggs of sea turtle are dug up and sold as delicacies in the South Asian countries. The state of West Bengal has emerged as one of the focal points of turtle smuggling. Despite efforts of the government, turtle smuggling remains as a lucrative business in India.
Turtles also threatened by several man made issues. One of the major threat is habitat destruction. The turtles which are found in Ganges and other major rivers in the country faces habitat destruction as these rivers are increasingly getting polluted. Sea turtles also suffers from the pollution of seas and beaches. Many turtles are dying every year by eating plastics.