About the Turtle
- Also known as Red eared slider, the red-eared turtle originally belongs to Mississippi valley, North America. They are one of the most dangerous invasive species.
- It is the latest favourite of pet lovers, especially children, because of its small size and colour.
- But it grows quickly and once of bigger size it is left in nearby water bodies.
- Red-eared sliders are well-poised to be effective invaders. They reach sexual maturity at a young age and have high fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring).
- Red-eared sliders, being omnivorous, compete with native turtle species for food, habitat, and other resources.
- These turtles can get quite large (10-12”) and are notoriously aggressive, and can bully native turtles out of basking sites, a critical resource for these reptiles. Reduced access to these sites can slow growth and increase mortality of native turtles.
Why in the news?
- Recently, a red-eared slider has been found in Thrissur, Kerala.
- Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) has been working with the locals to remove this invasive species as it may become harmful to local turtle populations.
- It is also working on discouraging pet shops from selling the species and instructing pet owners not to release them to the wild.
What are invasive species?
- An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—an amphibian, plant, insect, fish, fungus, or bacteria—that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm.
- Not all non-native species are invasive. For example, most of the food crops grown in India, including onion, potato and tomatoes are not native to the region.
- To be invasive,
- a species must adapt to the new area easily
- it must reproduce quickly
- it must harm the economy, or the native plants and animals of the region
- Some of the most serious invasive species in India are Alternanthera philoxeroides, Cassia uniflora, Chromolaena odorata, Eichhornia crassipes, Lantana camara, Parthenium hysterophorus and Prosopis juliflora, etc.