Chinese Turtle Farms - What do we do?
In the early 2000's our team was the first scientific group allowed to enter Chinese Turtle Farms to exchange data on captive husbandry of Asian turtle species. Since then we have visited dozens of the largest and most important farms throughout southern China and gathered and exchanged valuable data on the husbandry of Cuora.
We are in constant discussion with the Farm owners how their farms can be involved in Conservation Projects and how to improve captive conditions in order to rely solely upon captive bred stock, which would help the already depleted (if remaining) wild populations to recover. In the picture above you can see the "Cuora trifasciata Mountain", part of the largest Cuora farm in China, owned by our friend Li Yi. More than 10,000 specimens are maintained in this facility alone. These farms produce captive bred offspring for the TCM food and medicine market as well as for the pet industry in China. Substainable farms put pressure off the wild populations, but as everywhere there are always some black sheep that still continue to use wild caught stock. Throughout our surveys our chinese Team Members are in close contact with the authorities and the high quality farmers to improve conditions.
Chinese Turtle Markets - What do we do?
Regarded by many as the root of all evil, which is somewhat not that wrong. These markets, driven by the demand of more than 1.3B people in China to return to their long forbidden ancestors traditional chinese medicine are the major cause of turtle extinction in Asia and expanding to the entire rest of the world currently. Turtles are traded for food, to cure disease like Cancer, increase potency or to serve as pets for a generation of wealthy chinese enthusiasts. Fortunately the last few years have shown that the trade numbers of wild caught stock have decreased in the open sale on markets, leading some to the believe that laws show effect or that populations have finally collapsed, but this might also indicate that the traders just went behind scenes.
Nowdays most openly offered turtles are captive bred.
We survey these markets since the early 2000s to learn more about this terrible trade and to gather valuable hints of potential remaining populations of several species.