Protection area to be made for endangered turtle
CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan is moving to set up Asia's first wildlife conservation zone for the yellow-margined box turtle in an effort to stop the rampant poaching of the endangered species.
September 18, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
Feitsui Reservoir in northern Taiwan, a habitat of the turtle, is now making plans to establish a conservation area, Liou Ming lone, commissioner of the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration, said Tuesday.
Researchers have confirmed that the reservoir's catchment area has the world's most stable population of yellow-margined box turtles, which are classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Liou said.
The plan to demarcate a 1,259 hectare protected area will be put forward by the end of September and implemented in October, according to the Forestry Bureau, which will supervise the zone jointly with the reservoir administration.
The yellow-margined box turtle is terrestrial and resides mainly in forests in Taiwan.
Its population has declined in recent decades due to the expansion of agricultural lands and to a growing demand in China for the turtles, both as food and as pets, the Forestry Bureau said. This has led to rampant poaching and smuggling of the endangered turtle, the bureau said.
Taiwan's coast guard authorities last week seized around 5,000 yellow-margined box turtles that were to be smuggled to China.
The species has a long lifespan but usually takes more than 10 years to reach maturity and has a low birth rate.