With the approval given by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Hong Kong Society of Herpetology Foundation has recently transferred 3 Arakan Forest Turtles abandoned by the public to the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for conservation projects. This means these turtles may have a chance to join foreign conversation organizations or zoos for the purposes of conservation of this species and captive breeding programs.
Arakan Forest Turtles (Heosemys depressa) are classified as by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered species. These turtles live in the Arakan hills of western Myanmar. Threats facing by this species include habitat loss as well as collection from the wild for human consumption and pet markets. They were long thought to be extinct, until it was rediscovered in 1994 when a few specimens were spotted in a Chinese food market.
Due to their narrow distribution, low population density, slow reproduction and growth rate, late maturity, together with the fact that mature adults are captured from the wild, the survival of this species is now seriously threatened. At present, only a handful of these turtles are being raised in captivity, and in the wild their status is critical.
Until now, there are still many endangered Asian turtles which are often collected from the wild and their current situations are more or less the same as the Arakan Forest Turtles. So the next time before you buy any turtles, please check if that turtle is under protection and refuse to purchase any threatened species of unknown sources.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to my partners(KFBG & AFCD), committees, volunteers and anyone who have been with us in these years. It is only with your help these turtles can have a promising future.
Founder of HKHerp