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Cuora mccordi (Ernst, 1988)

Cuora mccordi is a yellow-headed, chestnut-brown-shelled Asian box turtle. It reaches 14–23 cm SCL, and is sexually dimorphic, with males usually smaller than females and possessing thicker, longer tails and a more elongated and flatter shells. It was not until 2005 that a team of scientists discovered the species’ native habitat in Guangxi, at a time when the species was already nearly extirpated from the wild.

In 2008, a detailed study of the habitat showed that the species is semi-aquatic and inhabits bamboo patches in broad-leafed forests in an area of less than 50 km2.

C. mccordi was still locally common in the 1970s, when local villagers sometimes used them instead of stones to throw at their buffaloes; the species' decline seems to have begun in the 1980s when the international turtle trade reached the area. Since the species was easy to collect, the population collapsed quickly after its discovery. No wild specimens have been observed since 2010, despite high market value in China and persistent searches, indicating that this species is likely extinct in the wild. The remaining habitat is at severe risk due to logging and non-native plant reforestation projects. The species thrives in captivity and is being bred in increasing numbers, with a total worldwide estimate of 700–800 captive specimens.




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