The Hayagriva Madhav Temple located at Hajo on the outskirts of Guwahati is playing a significant role in reviving an extinct species of freshwater turtle known as the black soft-shell turtle.
The key person who is responsible for increasing the extinct population of the turtle is Pranab Malakar, the caretaker of the temple pond in Hajo.
Reports say Malakar, who later became a member of the conservation group Good Earth, started the process of collecting eggs of the turtle from the sandy banks of the pond and putting them in an incubator for rearing them.
The amazing process of rearing the black soft-shell turtles has been such a roaring success that Good Earth has decided to use eighteen other ponds in the temple area to increase the population of the freshwater turtle species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared the black soft-shell turtle as ‘Extinct in the Wild’ in the year 2002.
Good Earth, which had partnered with the temple authorities in order to breed the freshwater turtle species, had released 16 of hand-reared hatchlings of the turtle species into a nearby wildlife sanctuary in January 2019.
The pond of the Hajo based temple had become a rich habitat of the black soft-shell turtles and the devotees of the temple believe that the turtles have a sacred status.
Due to the religious belief of the devotees, the pond of the temple have also have an enjoyable haven for the turtles as they savour the titbits of food thrown to them by the visitors of the temple.