© Cuora.org

Cuora bourreti (Obst & Reimann, 1994)

The mountainous evergreen forests of Central Vietnam and adjacent eastern Laos are home to this highly terrestrial member of the genus Cuora. Its domed carapace is variable in color and pattern - well adapted to its leaf-covered habitat - and can be entirely black to chestnut brown, with or without black stripes and radiations and a lighter colored lateral band. The plastron is cream colored with or without a varying degree of black blotches on each scute. The head coloration shows variably mixed black, red, orange, yellow, azure, pink, and/or whitish patterns. Extensive variability makes C. bourreti one of the most colorful Asian turtle species. The species reaches a SCL of 15–20 cm. Males can have a slightly concave plastron, larger claws and a thicker and longer tail than females. Despite ongoing rampant collection for more than three decades, primarily for the Chinese food and medicine markets, the species is still found in large parts of its range, but also still heavily poached and traded into China. An estimated 1500–2000 specimens ended up in the international pet trade in the 1980s and 1990s; this trend has ceased being legal since the listing of this species on CITES Appendix II, but the Chinese demand has not been hindered by the recent CITES up-listing to CITES Appendix I. Population estimates are in the 10,000–20,000 range at most due to its geographic distribution, but are otherwise speculative. Habitat destruction from logging and the creation of new farmland threaten the remaining populations. This species is rather delicate in captivity and is easily stressed. Successful breeding is rare, but slowly increasing. Fewer than 1,000 specimens are believed to live in captivity worldwide.

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© Cuora.org

© Cuora.org