Programmes

Asian Box Turtles

Yunnan Box Turtle
Chinese Golden-coin Turtle
Other Box Turtles

 

Yunnan Box Turtle

Yunnan Box Turtle Cuora yunnanensis (Boulenger, 1906)
Order: Testudines
Family: Geoemydidae
IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix II
State Key Protected Animal List of China: Class II
 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Species

Described from Yunnan Province of China in 1906, the last verified record was back in 1946, and the species had long been regarded as globally extinct – until a living turtle was discovered in a market in 2004. Although it is protected under certain national and international regulations, the black-market price rocketed because of its legendary status and rarity. It is highly sought-after by illegal pet traders, and development threatens its only known habitat.

Conservation Action

Kadoorie Conservation China (KCC) of KFBG and the Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered a small wild population in 2008 after our collaborative project started in 2005. Our conservation strategy includes both in-situ field study and protection, and ex-situ conservation breeding for eventual re-introduction. To save this rare, Yunnan-endemic turtle from a “second extinction”, KCC is also actively involved in: facilitating the setup of a protected area for the species; preparing a studbook on the whole captive population based on results of a genetic study; raising publicity and awareness in government, academic and public circles, emphasising the importance and urgency of Cuora turtle conservation; and obtaining government support to protect other potential sites near the turtle’s known range.

 

Chinese Golden-coin Turtle


Chinese Golden-coin Turtle / Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle Cuora trifasciata (Bell, 1825)
Order:Testudines
Family: Geoemydida
IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix II
Protected by the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170)

 

 

 

 

 

About the Species

The Golden Coin Turtle is well known to the Chinese people as a component of traditional medicine, with unsubstantiated claims of having cancer-curing properties. It is also a talisman of good luck and prosperity. Unfortunately the species has not had its share of good fortune. The turtle has been hunted to the verge of extinction across its natural range, from South China into Vietnam. As the species has vanished from the wild, market prices have soared, further increasing illegal poaching activity. Wild areas of Hong Kong represent its last chance for continued existence in the wild, with a small breeding population clinging on to life in remote valleys and streams. The species is listed as Critically Endangered, and considered one of the 25 most endangered turtles globally.

Conservation Action

A joint effort by the Fauna Conservation Department of KFBG and the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong Government is working to preserve and make safe the last Hong Kong refuges, and thus protect the remnant populations that exist. At the same time we are building an assurance colony of rescued animals that have entered an ex-situ breeding programme. Future releases will aim to boost remnant populations and repopulate suitable habitats, and the ecological niche, that this symbolic animal should occupy. 

Please do not buy wild-caught tutles.

Other Box Turtles

Yellow-headed Box Turtle (Cuora aurocapitata) and Yellow-margined Box Turtle (C. flavomarginata)

The Yellow-headed Box Turtle is endemic to Anhui Province in central China, but sadly it was classified as Critically Endangered by IUCN Red List only a decade after its discovery in 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the Yellow-margined Box Turtle has a much wider distribution, the ever-increasing demand as replacement for other rare Cuora species in the illegal trade is putting the species in great danger. Kadoorie Conservation China (KCC), a Department of KFBG, is working with our mainland partners to conduct field surveys and establish protected areas for the long term survival of these two rare species.