BookPDF Available

Turtles in Trouble: The World’s 25+ Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles - 2018

Authors:
  • Chelonian Research Foundation
A preview of the PDF is not available
... Aside from collecting basic statistical data, special emphasis was given to understanding whether there were any recent sightings for large softshell turtles (incl. Rafetus swinhoei, the most threatened chelonian species in the world) (Stanford et al., 2018(Stanford et al., , 2020. ...
... Thus, our results suggest that awareness campaigns for the conservation of turtles should be targeted at the local community scale, and should be necessarily adapted to the varying local cultural backgrounds. Our study also highlighted the possible presence of the world rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei (Stanford et al., 2018(Stanford et al., , 2020, at a single site of northern Laos, at the border with Vietnam. This potential site of presence should be further investigated, and careful turtle trapping should be conducted in order to ascertain the eventual survival of this exceedingly threatened species. ...
Article
Full-text available
Nowadays, Laos remains one of the scientifically least known countries of Asia in terms of herpetological knowledge. Here, we evaluate composition of species in freshwater ecosystems (main river courses) and terrestrial ecosystems (forests) in two distinct regions using Visual Encounter Surveys along designed transects, examination of fishers’ catches and standardized interviews. In Northern Laos, we recorded only 18 reptile individuals (2 turtle and 1 snake species). Interview surveys demonstrated that in Nam Xam River, fishers are more likely to hunt turtles and we identified one potential site where the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, could be still present in the wild. In Nam Et Phou Louey National Park, we found 19 reptile species (8 lizard, 10 snake, 1 turtle species) in the different study sites, demonstrating a low species density in all different surveyed habitats. In Central/Southern Laos, we observed 30 species of reptiles (14 snake, 16 lizard, 35 amphibian species). Our study offers preliminary insights into the composition of amphibians and reptiles in Laos. The great majority of the species were non-threatened or not evaluated, and a few were threatened, suggesting that more research is needed to proper understand the conservation status of Laos’ herpetofauna. We highlighted, indirectly by interviews with local fishers, the possible presence of the turtle Rafetus swinhoei, thus providing a new hope for avoiding the extinction of this species. Finally, we observed a relatively low number of species in each habitat type, which is remarkably lower than in tropical forests of other continents or of nearby south-east Asian countries, indicating that the herpetofauna communities in Laos are depleted, reflecting an ‘empty forest syndrome’.
... The Plight of Turtles in Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia Even though tortoises and semiaquatic turtles are essential elements of biodiversity, they face an uncertain future [6]. More than half of the world's 356 turtle species are threatened or are already extinct [7]. ...
Article
Building collegial international relationships is an important aspect of conservation and conservation education. The relationship relies on researchers understanding the local context of the conservation project and the sociocultural perspectives of all partners. Therefore, we situated our case study within sociocultural theory. Our case study focuses on the relationships and project work which developed between a biologist/science educator at the University of Bengkulu in Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia, and a science education professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA, who shared longtime interests in herpetology. Employing the sociocultural perspective, we describe the background of each University group leader and how their previous experiences led to the development of a partnership focused on turtle conservation. In this case study, we seek to understand the social and cultural development of the researchers’ relationship as they teamed to address the ex situ conservation challenges of working with terrestrial and semiaquatic turtles. An examination of the researchers’ partnership provides a framework for the analysis of the work accomplished and remaining and offers insights to others interested in collaborative international conservation projects.
... The Plight of Turtles in Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia Even though tortoises and semiaquatic turtles are essential elements of biodiversity, they face an uncertain future [6]. More than half of the world's 356 turtle species are threatened or are already extinct [7]. ...
Article
Building collegial international relationships is an important aspect of conservation and conservation education. The relationship relies on researchers understanding the local context of the conservation project and the sociocultural perspectives of all partners. Therefore, we situated our case study within sociocultural theory. Our case study focuses on the relationships and project work which developed between a biologist/science educator at the University of Bengkulu in Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia, and a science education professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA, who shared longtime interests in herpetology. Employing the sociocultural perspective, we describe the background of each University group leader and how their previous experiences led to the development of a partnership focused on turtle conservation. In this case study, we seek to understand the social and cultural development of the researchers’ relationship as they teamed to address the ex situ conservation challenges of working with terrestrial and semiaquatic turtles. An examination of the researchers’ partnership provides a framework for the analysis of the work accomplished and remaining and offers insights to others interested in collaborative international conservation projects.
... Turtles and tortoises are experiencing an unprecedented decline in many regions of the world, owing to a plethora of threats including especially habitat loss and overhunting (Stanford et al., 2018;Stanford et al., 2020). Therefore, it is important to assess the local status and to study the field ecology and natural history of individual populations of threatened species to enable science-based measures to be developed for their effective management and protection (Stanford et al., 2020;Luiselli, Diagne & McGovern, 2021). ...
Article
1. The Euphrates Softshell Turtle (Rafetus euphraticus) is the most threatened chelonian species in the Middle East, where it is endemic of the Tigris and Euphrates basins. Since this species is ecologically little known it is difficult to plan any reliable action for its correct management and conservation. 2. In order to enhance the scientific knowledge on R. euphraticus, and to establish a science-based management strategy, a detailed investigation on the distribution, habitat, activity and home range of R. euphraticus individuals in Turkey was carried out. The previous distribution records in Turkey belonged to the 1990s. Thus, this study is the first comprehensive field research on the species after nearly three decades. 3. There was a significant sexual size dimorphism in the Turkish population, with males larger than females. 4. Four individuals were radiotracked for one year. The mean home range was highly variable depending on how it was calculated, but that of males was considerably greater than that of females by all methods employed. 5. A quantitative evaluation of habitat change throughout time was made. For the Euphrates River, the land cover classes potentially available to turtles increased over 100% between 1990s and 2018: 92% of this enhancement derived from water bodies and coastal lands. 6. Fifteen dams have been built in the lower part of the basins for 30 years. In addition, ongoing human interactions have caused the fragmentation and/or destruction of suitable habitats for the Euphrates Softshell Turtle. 7. The factors threatening the Euphrates Softshell Turtle were determined and a conservation action plan was developed. Some objectives such as monitoring and creating awareness of this action plan have been reached while others are still waiting to be achieved.
... This is particularly concerning for freshwater amphibians whose required vegetation, wetland types, and thermal regimes are limited (Lesbarrères et al. 2014). Notably, amphibians are globally one of the most threatened vertebrate groups (Wake and Vredenburg 2008;Stanford et al. 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the current state of freshwater biodiversity in Canada, one of the countries with the greatest amount of surface waters in the world. To address this knowledge gap, we compiled a list of all available assessments of conservation status for freshwater species (over 3,000 taxa) and further evaluated the overall status of six distinct taxonomic groups, focusing on organisms reliant on freshwaters [i.e., aquatic plants, invertebrates (with a focus on freshwater mussels), fishes, herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians), birds, and mammals]. Overall, 11.7% of all freshwater species of plants and animals assessed were found to be ‘at risk’ (i.e., listed as ‘Threatened’, ‘Endangered’, or ‘Extirpated’) and 17.9% identified as ‘Special Concern’. We found that 37.9% of species lacked sufficient data to enable their status to be assessed. Data gaps in Canada’s assessment of its freshwater species were most prevalent in invertebrates (excluding freshwater mussels). Given the alarming state of freshwater biodiversity in Canada, we conclude by providing recommendations that focus on evaluating temporal trends and informing conservation actions.
Article
Ranaviruses have been detected in over 12 families of reptiles including many genera of turtles, tortoises, and terrapins, but the pathogenesis of these infections is still poorly understood. Krefft’s river turtle hatchlings ( N = 36; Emydura macquarii krefftii) were inoculated intramuscularly with Bohle iridovirus (BIV, Ranavirus, isolate) or saline, and euthanized at 9 timepoints (3 infected and 1 control per timepoint) over a 24-day period. Samples of lung, liver, kidney, and spleen were collected for quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR); internal organs, skin, and oral cavity samples were fixed for histopathological examination. The earliest lesions, at 8 days postinoculation (dpi), were lymphocytic inflammation of the skin and fibrinoid necrosis of regional vessels at the site of inoculation, and mild ulcerative necrosis with lymphocytic and heterophilic inflammation in the oral, nasal, and tongue mucosae. Fibrinonecrotic foci with heterophilic inflammation were detected in spleen and gonads at 16 dpi. Multifocal hepatic necrosis, heterophilic inflammation, and occasional basophilic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies were observed at 20 dpi, along with ulcerative lymphocytic and heterophilic tracheitis and bronchitis. Tracheitis, bronchitis, and rare bone marrow necrosis were present at 24 dpi. Of the viscera tested for ranaviral DNA by PCR, the liver and spleen had the highest viral loads throughout infection, and thus appeared to be major targets of viral replication. Testing of whole blood by qPCR was the most-effective ante-mortem method for detecting ranaviral infection compared with oral swabs. This study represents the first time-dependent pathogenesis study of a ranaviral infection in turtles.
Article
As part of a biannual health examination, coprological samples from 3-mo-old Central American river turtles, Dermatemys mawii (Gray, 1847) in a breeding program in Belize, Central America, revealed a previously undescribed coccidian (Apicomplexa) in 17 of 46 (37%) samples. Of 3 positive fecal samples transported to the University of Florida, coccidian oocysts were observed in 1 sample. Sporulated oocysts were measured and described, and using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), an approximately 400-base pair (bp) region of both the small subunit (18S) ribosomal RNA gene and 1,200-bp region of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene were amplified in all 3 samples and their products were sequenced. For comparative value, the same PCR reactions and amplifications were performed on a fecal sample containing oocysts of Eimeria mitraria obtained from a red-eared slider, Trachemys scripta elegans. Results indicated a new eimerian in D. mawii, Eimeria grayi n. sp.
Article
Full-text available
The matamatas (Chelus fimbriata and the recently described Chelus orinocensis) are the largest species in the family Chelidae, easily identified by their distinct morphological characteristics. The matamatas have a wide distribution in South America, occurring in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Peru, and Venezuela, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. However, there are many gaps in the knowledge of its distribution. The objective of this study was to present new records of occurrence for the C. fimbriata species complex and describe the area of distribution. We compiled data from published papers, databases in museums and other scientific collections, and research institutes and conservation organizations. From these data we mapped the species distribution, considering 3 types of river drainages based on water color in the Amazon Basin. We added 182 new records in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, demonstrating that the C. fimbriata species complex has a wide distribution, totaling 6,907,551 km2 across all 3 river types. Most records were concentrated in areas lower than 200 m above sea level.
Article
Full-text available
We analyzed the taxon richness and endemism of tortoises and freshwater turtles in the world’s premier biodiversity conservation priority areas and countries with greatest turtle richness. Turtle hotspots include biodiversity hotspots (BHS), high-biodiversity wilderness areas (HBWA), and additional turtle priority areas (TPA) previously identified. We present taxon richness and endemism values for the 16 turtle hotspots with highest richness and endemicity. These 16 turtle hotspots together contain 262 species (83% of total), of which 149 (47%) are endemic to these areas combined, and 134 species (43%) are endemic to just a single priority area. At the terminal taxon (subspecies) level, these 16 areas harbor 342 taxa (79%), of which 210 (48%) are endemic to these combined areas, and 195 (45%) are endemic to a single priority area. These 16 BHS, HBWA, and TPA account for less than 24 million square kilometers, or 16.0% of planet Earth’s land surface, with an estimated 10.4 million square kilometers of original habitat remaining, or 7.0% of the planet’s land surface. Twenty-one countries are recorded to harbor 15 or more species of non-marine turtles, with the percentage of endemic species ranging from 0% to 88%. Collectively, these 21 countries are inhabited by 275 (87%) species and 352 (81%) taxa, of which 115 (37%) species and 175 (40%) taxa are endemic to just a single country. Identification of these conservation priority areas and countries should assist conservation of turtles worldwide by focusing on areas where the greatest number of species and taxa can be secured and where the authorities and institutions that exist hope to accomplish these goals.
Article
Full-text available
There are currently ca. 317 recognized species of turtles and tortoises in the world. Of those that have been assessed on the IUCN Red List, 63% are considered threatened, and 10% are critically endangered, with ca. 42% of all known turtle species threatened. Without directed strategic conservation planning, a significant portion of turtle diversity could be lost over the next century. Toward that conservation effort, we compiled museum and literature occurrence records for all of the world's tortoises and freshwater turtle species to determine their distributions and identify priority regions for conservation. We constructed projected range maps for each species by selecting geographic information system–defined hydrologic unit compartments (HUCs) with verified locality points, and then added HUCs that connected known point localities in the same watershed or physiographic region and that had similar habitats and elevations as the verified HUCs. We analyzed a total of 305 turtle species and assigned each to 1 of 7 geographic regions of the world. Patterns of global turtle species distributions were determined and regional areas of turtle species richness identified. In only 2 areas of the world did as many as 18 or 19 species occur together in individual HUCs. We then compared species distributions with existing global conservation strategies (GCSs) and established biodiversity priority areas. Presence of a species in a GCS was defined as ≥ 5% its range. Of the 34 biodiversity hotspots, 28 collectively contain the projected ranges of 192 turtle species, with 74 endemic; the 5 high-biodiversity wilderness areas contain 72 species, with 17 endemic; and 16 other wilderness areas contain 52 species, with 1 endemic. However, 116 turtle species have either < 50% of their ranges in existing GCSs (57 species) or do not occur in them at all (59 species, 19.3%), thus potentially leaving many tortoises and freshwater turtles without any regional GCS. For each of these 116 species we identify a priority Ecoregion for further conservation consideration, and we identify 3 new global Turtle Priority Areas for conservation based on aggregated Ecoregions. These are the Southeastern United States, Lower Gangetic Plain, and Coastal Australia Turtle Priority Areas.
Article
Full-text available
Conservation priority setting based on phylogenetic diversity has frequently been proposed but rarely implemented. Here, we define a simple index that measures the contribution made by different species to phylogenetic diversity and show how the index might contribute towards species-based conservation priorities. We describe procedures to control for missing species, incomplete phylogenetic resolution and uncertainty in node ages that make it possible to apply the method in poorly known clades. We also show that the index is independent of clade size in phylogenies of more than 100 species, indicating that scores from unrelated taxonomic groups are likely to be comparable. Similar scores are returned under two different species concepts, suggesting that the index is robust to taxonomic changes. The approach is applied to a near-complete species-level phylogeny of the Mammalia to generate a global priority list incorporating both phylogenetic diversity and extinction risk. The 100 highest-ranking species represent a high proportion of total mammalian diversity and include many species not usually recognised as conservation priorities. Many species that are both evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE species) do not benefit from existing conservation projects or protected areas. The results suggest that global conservation priorities may have to be reassessed in order to prevent a disproportionately large amount of mammalian evolutionary history becoming extinct in the near future.
Troubled times for turtles
  • J L Behler
Behler, J.L. 1997. Troubled times for turtles. In: Van Abbema, J. (Ed.). Proceedings: Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles -An International Conference. N.Y. Turtle and Tortoise Society, pp. xviii-xxii.
  • M Hoffmann
  • C Hilton-Taylor
  • A Angulo
  • M Böhm
  • T M Brooks
  • S H M Butchart
  • K E Carpenter
  • J Chanson
  • B Collen
  • N A Cox
  • W R T Darwall
  • N K Dulvy
  • L R Harrison
  • V Katariya
  • C M Pollock
  • S Quader
  • N I Richman
  • A S L Rodrigues
  • M F Tognelli
  • J.-C Vié
  • J M Aguiar
  • D J Allen
  • G R Allen
  • G Amori
  • N B Ananjeva
  • F Andreone
  • P Andrew
  • A L Aquino Ortiz
  • J E M Baillie
  • R Baldi
  • B D Bell
  • S D Biju
  • J P Bird
  • P Black-Decima
  • J J Blanc
  • F Bolaños
  • G Bolivar
  • W Burfield
  • I J Burton
  • J A Capper
  • D R Castro
  • F Catullo
  • G Cavanagh
  • R D Channing
  • A Chao
  • N L Chenery
  • A M Chiozza
  • F Clausnitzer
  • V Collar
  • N J Collett
  • L C Collette
  • Cortez Fernandez
  • C F Craig
  • M T Crosby
  • M J Cumberlidge
  • N Cuttelod
  • A Derocher
  • A E Diesmos
  • A C Donaldson
  • J S Duckworth
  • J W Dutson
  • G Dutta
  • S K Emslie
  • R H Farjon
  • A Fowler
  • S Freyhof
  • J Garshelis
  • D L Gerlach
  • J Gower
  • D J Grant
  • T D Hammerson
  • G A Harris
  • R B Heaney
  • L R Hedges
  • S B Hero
  • J.-M Hughes
  • B Hussain
  • S A Icochea
  • J Inger
  • R F Ishii
  • N Iskandar
  • D T Jenkins
  • R K B Kaneko
  • Y Kottelat
  • M Kovacs
  • K M Kuzmin
  • S L Marca
  • E L Lamoreux
  • J F Lau
  • M W N Lavilla
  • E O Leus
  • K Lewison
  • R L Lichtenstein
  • G Livingstone
  • S R Lukoschek
  • V Mallon
  • D P Mcgowan
  • P J K Mcivor
  • A Moehlman
  • P D Molur
  • S Alonso
  • A M Musick
  • J A Nowell
  • K Nussbaum
  • R A Olech
  • W Orlov
  • N L Papenfuss
  • T J Parra-Olea
  • G Perrin
  • W F Polidoro
  • B A Pourkazemi
  • M Racey
  • P A Ragle
  • J S Ram
  • M Rathbun
  • G Reynolds
  • R P Rhodin
  • A G J Richards
  • S J Rodríguez
  • L O Ron
  • S R Rondinini
  • C Rylands
  • A B Sadovy De Mitcheson
  • Y Sanciangco
  • J C Sanders
  • K L Santos-Barrera
  • G Schipper
  • J Self-Sullivan
  • C Shi
  • Y Shoemaker
  • A Short
  • F T Sillero-Zubiri
  • C Silvano
  • D L Smith
  • K G Smith
  • A T Snoeks
  • J Stattersfield
  • A J Symes
  • A J Taber
  • A B Talukdar
  • B K Temple
  • H J Timmins
  • R Tobias
  • J A Tsytsulina
  • K Tweddle
  • D Ubeda
  • C Valenti
  • S V Van Dijk
  • P P Veiga
  • L M Veloso
  • A Wege
  • D C Wilkinson
  • M Williamson
  • E A Xie
  • F Young
  • B E Akçakaya
  • H R Bennun
  • L Blackburn
  • T M Boitani
  • L Dublin
  • H T Fonseca
  • G A B Da
  • C Gascon
  • T E Lacher
  • Jr
  • G M Mace
  • S A Mainka
  • J A Mcneely
  • R A Mittermeier
  • G M Reid
  • J P Rodriguez
  • A A Rosenberg
  • M J Samways
  • J Smart
  • B A Stein
  • S N Stuart
Hoffmann, M., Hilton-Taylor, C., Angulo, A., Böhm, M., Brooks, T.M., Butchart, S.H.M., Carpenter, K.E., Chanson, J., Collen, B., Cox, N.A., Darwall, W.R.T., Dulvy, N.K., Harrison, L.R., Katariya, V., Pollock, C.M., Quader, S., Richman, N.I., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Tognelli, M.F., Vié, J.-C., Aguiar, J.M., Allen, D.J., Allen, G.R., Amori, G., Ananjeva, N.B., Andreone, F., Andrew, P., Aquino Ortiz, A.L., Baillie, J.E.M., Baldi, R., Bell, B.D., Biju, S.D., Bird, J.P., Black-Decima, P., Blanc, J.J., Bolaños, F., Bolivar-G., W., Burfield, I.J., Burton, J.A., Capper, D.R., Castro, F., Catullo, G., Cavanagh, R.D., Channing, A., Chao, N.L., Chenery, A.M., Chiozza, F., Clausnitzer, V., Collar, N.J., Collett , L.C., Collette, B.B., Cortez Fernandez, C.F., Craig, M.T., Crosby, M.J., Cumberlidge, N., Cuttelod, A., Derocher, A.E., Diesmos, A.C., Donaldson, J.S., Duckworth, J.W., Dutson, G., Dutta, S.K., Emslie, R.H., Farjon, A., Fowler, S., Freyhof, J., Garshelis, D.L., Gerlach, J., Gower, D.J., Grant, T.D., Hammerson, G.A., Harris, R.B., Heaney, L.R., Hedges, S.B., Hero, J.-M., Hughes, B., Hussain, S.A., Icochea M., J., Inger, R.F., Ishii, N., Iskandar, D.T., Jenkins, R.K.B., Kaneko, Y., Kottelat, M., Kovacs, K.M., Kuzmin, S.L., Marca, E.L., Lamoreux, J.F., Lau, M.W.N., Lavilla, E.O., Leus, K., Lewison, R.L., Lichtenstein, G., Livingstone, S.R., Lukoschek, V., Mallon, D.P., McGowan, P.J.K., McIvor, A., Moehlman, P.D., Molur, S., Alonso, A.M., Musick, J.A., Nowell, K., Nussbaum, R.A., Olech, W., Orlov, N.L., Papenfuss, T.J., Parra-Olea, G., Perrin, W.F., Polidoro, B.A., Pourkazemi, M., Racey, P.A., Ragle, J.S., Ram, M., Rathbun, G., Reynolds, R.P., Rhodin, A.G.J., Richards, S.J., Rodríguez, L.O., Ron, S.R., Rondinini, C., Rylands, A.B., Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y., Sanciangco, J.C., Sanders, K.L., Santos-Barrera, G., Schipper, J., Self-Sullivan, C., Shi, Y., Shoemaker, A., Short, F.T., Sillero-Zubiri, C., Silvano, D.L., Smith, K.G., Smith, A.T., Snoeks, J., Stattersfield, A.J., Symes, A.J., Taber, A.B., Talukdar, B.K., Temple, H.J., Timmins, R., Tobias, J.A., Tsytsulina, K., Tweddle, D., Ubeda, C., Valenti, S.V., van Dijk, P.P., Veiga, L.M., Veloso, A., Wege, D.C., Wilkinson, M., Williamson, E.A., Xie, F., Young, B.E., Akçakaya, H.R., Bennun, L., Blackburn, T.M., Boitani, L., Dublin, H.T., Fonseca, G.A.B. da, Gascon, C., Lacher, T.E., Jr., Mace, G.M., Mainka, S.A., McNeely, J.A., Mittermeier, R.A., Reid, G.M., Rodriguez, J.P., Rosenberg, A.A., Samways, M.J., Smart, J., Stein, B.A., and Stuart, S.N. 2010. The impact of conservation on the status of the world's vertebrates. Science 330:1503-1509.
Conservation of Asian tortoises and freshwater turtles: setting priorities for the next ten years. Recommendations and Conclusions from the Workshop in Singapore. Singapore Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Society
  • B D Horne
  • C M Poole
  • A D Walde
Horne, B.D., Poole, C.M., and Walde, A.D. 2012. Conservation of Asian tortoises and freshwater turtles: setting priorities for the next ten years. Recommendations and Conclusions from the Workshop in Singapore. Singapore Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Society, 32 pp.
A divergence dating analysis of turtles using fossil calibrations: an example of best practices
  • W G Joyce
  • J F Parham
  • T R Lyson
  • R C M Warnock
  • P C J Donoghue
Joyce, W.G., Parham, J.F., Lyson, T.R., Warnock, R.C.M., and Donoghue, P.C.J. 2013. A divergence dating analysis of turtles using fossil calibrations: an example of best practices. Journal of Paleontology 87(4): 612-634.