Activists are banking on the ‘gamosa’, woven with images of endangered turtles, to spread the message of turtle conservation
- It is a white handmade cotton towel, with its characteristic red border of woven motifs.
- It is valued as a gift for visitors, used as a scarf, anti-dust mask, wrapped around the head as a turban.
Benefits to the Environment and Community:
- Kaso Sakhi (Friend of Turtles), a self-help group comprising 60 women has formed a week ago which wove 36 ‘turtle scarves’ as an experiment under a project initiated by Turtle Survival Alliance.
Turtle Survival Alliance:
- It was formed in 2001 as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) partnership for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tortoises
- It arose in response to the rampant and unsustainable harvest of Asian turtle populations to supply Chinese markets, a situation known as the Asian Turtle Crisis.
- Today, the TSA is an action-oriented global partnership, focusing on species that are at high risk of extinction, and working in turtle diversity hotspots around the world.
- TSA’s conservation actions utilize a three-pronged approach:
- Restoring populations in the wild where possible;
- Securing species in captivity through assurance colonies; and
- Building the capacity to restore, secure and conserve species within their range country.
- About 800 women of Puranigaon in Assam were motivated to join the conservation program because restrictions on fishing had hit their husbands hard.
- They intend to sell the Kaso Sakhi-branded games and other handloom products for generating revenue.
- A part of this money would go to conservation of rare turtles such as the Assam Roofed Turtle (Panghshura sylhetensis)
About Assam Roofed Turtle:
- The Assam roofed turtle (Pangshura sylhetensis), also known as Sylhet roofed turtle is a species of the turtle family Geoemydidae found in the Brahmaputra-Meghna drainage in India (Assam) and parts of eastern Bangladesh.
- It is under Endangered Category under IUCN list
- It is exploited for its meat and eggs for local consumption or be collected for the pet trade, especially in Asia where this turtle fetches high prices as pets.
- Habitat destruction by logging and incidental capture in fishing gear are also thought to present threats.