Biodiv Sci

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Freshwater turtle trade in Hainan and suggestions for effective manage-ment

Shiping Gong1,2 , Youli Fu2,3 , Jichao Wang2, Haitao Shi2* , Rumei Xu1   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875
    2 Department of Biology, Hainan Normal University, Haikou 571158
    3 College of Ocean , Hainan University, Haikou 570228
  • Received:2005-01-19 Revised:2005-04-27 Online:2005-05-20 Published:2005-05-20
  • Contact: Haitao Shi


A survey of the freshwater turtle trade in Hainan was conducted during 2002–2004. The results show that trade in wild turtles occurs in all cities and counties of Hainan. A total of 22 markets selling turtles were found, accounting for 19.6% of the total markets investigated and trade in wild turtles was found to exist in 64 towns, accounting for 65.3% of the total towns investigated. A total of 103 wild turtle purchasing stations were discovered, comprising 489 wild individuals and 10 local species (more than 90% of Hainan’s freshwater turtle species). Of the 10 turtle species, 3 are designated as grade II key state-protected species and 6 listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). According to the China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals: Amphibia and Reptilia, 1 is critically en-dangered, 8 endangered and 1 vulnerable in China. According to the number of individuals found in this survey, Pyxidea mouhotii, Cuora galbinifrons, Sacalia quadriocellata, Ocadia sinensis are relatively abun-dant; Platysternon megacephalum, Geoemyda spengleri, Pelodiscus sinensis are rare; Cuora trifasciata, Mauremys mutica, and Palea steindachneri are critically rare. The market prices of these turtle species vary widely, ranging from RMB80–120 per kilogram in S. quadriocellata to RMB18 000–36 000 per kilogram in C. trifasciata. From 2002 to 2004, the prices have risen to a varying degree. This study shows that the wild turtle trade is widespread in Hainan. The demand of the trade has led to over-collecting, which is the larg-est threat to the freshwater turtles of Hainan. Here the status, reasons, and negative impacts of wild turtle trade are discussed and possible suggestions for effective management and conservation are presented.