Monday, July 7, 2014

Now you know: Chinese softshell turtle introduction in the Philippines is prohibited

Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis Wiegmann, 1835) is a native of parts of China, Vietnam, Japan, North Korea and Russia and have been introduced in different parts of Southeast Asia and the United States of America.
Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) in its natural
habitat. Photo taken from Arkive.
This turtle's natural populations was assessed by the IUCN as vulnerable (VU) although there is evidence that it is massively farmed in China (Haitao, et al., 2008). In the Philippines, it has proliferated in wetlands and aquaculture areas particularly in Pampanga region (Region 3) and has probably established populations in Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Mindoro. It has been considered a threat to local biodiversity and a pest to the multi-million fishing industry of Central Luzon.

 Photo of Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis)
taken from Arkive.
In February 22, 2013, the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) released Technical Bulletin 2013-02 on the collection and control of this turtle in the Philippines. This Bulletin states that the introduction of Chinese softshell turtle is unauthorized, illegal and punishable in the Philippines. If you find this turtle in the wild, it should be surrendered to the Government through BMB. For further information, read below:

Now, you know.

Asian Turtle Trade Working Group 2000. Pelodiscus sinensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. [Accessed 140707].

Cervantes, D. (2013, February 6). Invasive Chinese turtle species threatens fish in Central Luzon.

Haitao, S., Parham, J.F., Zhiyong, F., Meiling, H., Feng, Y. 2008. Evidence for the massive scale of turtle farming in China. Oryx 42(1): 147-150.

Uetz, P., Hošek, J. 2014. Pelodiscus sinensis. The Reptile Database (version 3.0, Mar 2013). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 28th June 2014 (Roskov, Y., Kunze, T., Orrell, T., Abucay, L., Culham, A., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., Decock, W., and A. De Wever, eds.). Digital resource at Species 2000: Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands. [Accessed 140707].

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