Because of burgeoning demand in the Chinese market and extensive habitat loss more than half of the freshwater turtle and tortoise species in Asia are categorized as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. To investigate the distribution and status of the native freshwater turtle species of Taiwan a trapping programme was conducted during 2001-2007, yielding a total of 1,828 individuals of four native species at 103 sites. Mauremys sinensis was the most abundant and widely distributed species; it was collected from 70 sites and accounted for 78.6% of all turtles captures. Mauremys mutica comprised 17.8% at 46 sites. Pelodiscus sinensis were captured in low numbers at 19 sites. No Mauremys reevesii were collected on the main island of Taiwan but the species was found on Kinmen Island near mainland China. Capture success was low at most sites and overall sex ratios were significantly male-biased in all species, suggesting that the freshwater turtles have suffered from the negative effects of habitat disturbance and extensive exploitation. Effective conservation measures are urgently required to ensure the viability of the native freshwater turtle species of Taiwan.
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