Conservation Problems
of Tropical Asia’s Most-Threatened Turtles


Department of Biology, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan 2028, Brunei Darussalam
Current address:  Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC),
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

        ABSTRACT:  The ten most-threatened freshwater turtle and tortoise species of the Oriental region include Aspideretes nigricans, Batagur baska, Chitra chitra, Geochelone platynota, Heosemys depressa, Heosemys leytensis, Kachuga kachuga, Kachuga sylhetensis, Manouria emys, and Manouria impressa.  The threatened status of these species (except for the recently described Chitra chitra) has been generally recognised, although the contributory factors are still poorly understood because data on the biology of most Oriental species are lacking.  In general, large riverine species appear affected by overexploitation, although pollution of habitats and river development projects have also had significant effects on populations.  On the other hand, many of the small- to medium-sized forest-dwelling turtles and tortoises appear to be declining from destruction and modifications of their forest habitats and from collection for food and the pet trade.  Recommended conservation actions include the establishment of sanctuaries in areas that support viable turtle populations, public education about threatened turtle species at the regional level, and increased efforts to collect data on the biology of these species.

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