Demographic Evidence of Illegal Harvesting of an Endangered Asian Turtle

  • Published source details Sung Y.H., Karraker N.E. & Hau B.C.H. (2013) Demographic Evidence of Illegal Harvesting of an Endangered Asian Turtle. Conservation Biology, 27, 1421-1428.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Protect habitat: All reptiles (excluding sea turtles)

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Protect habitat: All reptiles (excluding sea turtles)

    A site comparison study in 2009–2011 in freshwater lakes, rivers and streams in Hong Kong (Sung et al. 2013) found that big-headed turtles Platysternon megacephalum were larger in a stream inside a fenced, patrolled, protected area without turtle harvesting compared to turtles in four national park sites where illegal harvesting is believed to take place. Male and female big-headed turtles captured in the unharvested stream were larger (male: 123 mm long, female: 105 mm long) than male and female turtles in harvested streams (male: 91–104, female: 92–97). Male turtles in the unharvested site were significantly larger than females at the same site, whereas male turtles in harvested sites were of similar size to females in unharvested and harvested sites. In the unharvested site, male turtle density was higher (unharvested: 46 individuals/km; harvested: 3–35 turtles/km), female turtle density was similar (unharvested: 34; harvested: 3–35) and juvenile density was lower (unharvested: 38; harvested: 55–128) compared to harvested streams (results were not statistically tested). Turtles were surveyed in one unharvested stream in a fenced, patrolled conservation area and four streams in national parks where illegal harvesting was believed to take place. Between September 2009 and June 2011, visual encounter surveys (51 total surveys totalling 263 hours) and baited hoop trapping (10–20 traps/site, 5,124 total trapping hours) were carried out.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Guy Rotem)

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