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Tue 06 Apr 2004

"Pace of march to extinction quickens for SE Asia's turtles'

Category : news

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Southeast Asia is home to the most diverse range of turtles and tortoises in the world, but half of the species are critically endangered, regional zoologists working to protect them have told AFP.

Fifteen million turtles and tortoises disappear from around the region each year as they fall victim to a lucrative trade that is fuelled by a high demand for their use as pets and for human consumption, they warned.

Excerpts from the article:

"A lot of smuggling is going on. There needs to be policing, more stringent enforcement of laws and heavier penalties for smugglers. In Singapore the penalties are still too light, not a strong enough deterrent."

"When 2,000 tortoises land on our lap it really stretches out our facilities."

Aside from the trade of these animals for pets, Lim said the belief within some Asian communities that turtle meat had medicinal value had also fuelled the trade.

"If you go to the (Singapore) Chinatown wet market I think you can find the Malayan River terrapin sold for turtle soup."

- Francis Lim, Wildlife Reserves Singapore

"So it's spreading the word and making people care for wildlife and realise that once they're gone they'll never come back." - William Holstrom, Wildlife Conservation Society.

Yahoo AFP report, Sun Apr 4, 6:37 PM ET. Full article also here. [Thanks to Alvin Wong for the alert]

Posted at 10:03AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news