Three Vietnam turtle species move closer to extinction

By Phan Anh   August 28, 2019 | 04:58 pm PT
Three Vietnam turtle species move closer to extinction
A Southern Vietnamese box turtle, December 2005. Photo by Adrian Pingstone.
Three turtle species endemic to Vietnam have just been included in an international list of species threatened with extinction, effectively outlawing their trade.

The Southern Vietnamese box turtle (Cuora picturata), the Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis) and the Bourret's box turtle (Cuora bourreti) have been transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The transfer was proposed by the Convention's 18th Conference of the Parties held August 17-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Appendix I comprises species threatened with extinction, and any trade in specimens of these species is banned, except for a few exceptions. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival, according to CITES.

All three turtle species are listed as critically endangered in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. They are also legally protected in Vietnam from exploitation.

Their existence is mainly threatened by collection for trade as exotic pets or food, as well as habitat loss.

Five species of leopard geckos known to exist in Vietnam - Goniurosaura catbanensis, Goniurosaura huulienensis, Goniurosaura lichtenfelderi, Goniurosaurus araneus and Goniurosaurus luii – have been included in Appendix II of CITES. The first three species are endemic to Vietnam.

CITES is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. Its Conference of the Parties is held every two or three years to review the implementation of the convention and review conservation progress, among other things. This year, over 2,100 participants from 183 governments participated in the conference.

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