- Project name: Status and conservation of Cantor’s giant softshell turtle in Kerala
- Project site: Kuttiyadi and Valapattanam rivers, Kerala, India
- EDGE species: Cantor’s giant softshell turtle Pelochelys cantorii
- Active: 2019 - ongoing
Ayushi is currently studying for a Masters in Ecology and Environmental sciences. Her primary research interests lie in community ecology, behavioural ecology and evolution of various morphological and physiological traits in reptiles. She eventually hopes to continue her research work on freshwater turtles for a PhD.
Since childhood Ayushi has wanted to study turtles. She hopes that the Fellowship will give her international exposure that will open up further opportunities for her in wildlife research. She looks forward to interacting with and learning from experienced conservation biologists.
Ayushi’s project aims to collect baseline ecological data for Cantor’s giant softshell and its habitat at locations in three south Indian states, and to use this data to develop a Conservation Action Plan for the species. Her objectives are to:
- Assess the social structure of the communities associated with Kuttiyadi river and Valapattanam river
- Systematically document sightings and by-catches of the species in Kuttiyadi and Valapattanam rivers
- Characterise potential habitat of P. cantorii in Kuttiyadi and Valapattanam rivers
- Build an alert network with the fisherman communities and key stakeholders in partner communities along both the Kuttiyadi and Valapattanam rivers
- Assess feasibility of using eDNA approach to verify the presence of P. cantorii