A rare and endangered Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle was caught in a fishing net in the Brahmani river in Odisha's Kendrapara district, an official said on Friday.
The turtle is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. It was netted on Thursday near Jayakunda village, close to the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, the official said.
Kailash Barik, the fisherman who caught the turtle will be rewarded Rs 1,000 for handing over the protected reptile to the Forest Department.
Rajnagar Mangrove Divisional Forest Officer JD Pati informed that the rare turtle was later released into river water,
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put the species as 'vulnerable' in its Red List, noting the turtle is heavily exploited for its meat and calipee (shell's outer cartilaginous rim)
The turtle is mainly found in northern and central India, Bangladesh, Nepal and eastern Pakistan, according to the IUCN.
(With PTI Inputs)