1 Tahrcountry Musings: Freshwater Turtles on a Downswing

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Freshwater Turtles on a Downswing

According to a new analysis by Conservation International (CI) more than a third of the estimated 280 species of Freshwater Turtles around the world are now threatened with extinction.  This figure makes turtles some of the most threatened animals on the planet. Red river giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is in deep trouble. 

Unsustainable collection of turtles for food and pet trade are the main villains. Habitat loss as a result of river-damming for hydro-electricity is a major headache. When the natural flow patterns in rivers are disturbed their nests on the sandbank high up get flooded at the wrong time of year with disastrous consequences. In China their consumption is perceived to have medicinal benefits.

These turtles take 15-20 years to reach maturity and if they are taken out before that it is catastrophic.  Now is the time to take action. It is not too late.

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