IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th June, 2023 Environment

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • Thousands of Red eared sliders, 6850, were seized by Customs Air Intelligence unit at Tiruchi airport.
  • These were carried by two male passengers who arrived at the Tiruchi international airport from Kuala Lumpur by an Air Asia flight.
  • Red eared slider is a species of turtle 

Other Details

  • These small sized live turtles were hidden in small boxes inside stroller bag of these two passengers.
  • Officers of Customs Air Intelligence along with Tamil Nadu Forest Department officials conducted this search and catch operation.
  • These live wild turtles were being illicitly imported into India without valid import documents or licence.
  • Process is on to deport back the red-eared slider turtles to their country of origin.

Red-Eared Slider

  • They are also known by their scientific name Trachemys scripta elegans.
  • It is an invasive alien turtle species which is native to south-eastern United States and Mexico; to be specific Mississippi River drainage.
  • These are considered one of the world’s 100 worst invasive non-native species
  • They are omnivores and eat almost all vegetation.

Turtles in Indian Context

  • In general India is home to 29 freshwater turtles and tortoise species of the 356 turtle species.
  • As per a study published in journal Reptile and Amphibians conservation and Natural History, around 80 per cent of them are threatened.


  • Adult is generally is of medium size (125 to 350mm).
  • These are characterised by prominent yellow to red patches on each side of the head.
  • Carapace and skin are olive to brown with yellow stripes or spots.
  • Females are generally seen larger than males, however males have longer tails.
  • They have webbed feet with claws.
  • Their Paws are lethal and behaviour is aggressive.


  • It is a freshwater turtle which is found in a wide variety of freshwater habitats including rivers, ditches, swamps, lakes and ponds.
  • They prefer quiet waters however can tolerate brackish waters too.
  • Most suitable range for terrapins is believed between 10°C to 37°C.
  • They can also grow in anthropogenic environments like urban polluted river in tropical regions.
  • Urban wetlands like Sukhna lake in Chandigarh, temple ponds of Guwahati etc.

Threat to Biodiversity

  • It is an alien invasive species hence can pose a threat to native biodiversity.
  • They may compete with native turtle species of soft-shell and hard-shell turtles, threatening their survival.
  • They may lead to a food insecure condition for native species.
  • They may lead to the extinction of native species of their own kind

Conservation Status

  • As per IUCN Red List - Least Concerned.
  • These are also not mentioned in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Must Read Article:





Invasive species like Red Eared sliders can pose a significance threat to native biodiversity. Please Explain. Discuss the measures which could be taken in this regard. (150 Words)