Want China Times
By: Scott Pursner
Taiwan’s yellow-margined box turtles are being overharvested at an alarmingly high
rate in order to be shipped to China where wealthy businesspeople view the animal as an investment opportunity.
Also known as the Chinese box turtle, the small turtle with its high-dome shell was once a common sight throughout Taiwan but population numbers are declining rapidly. Most English-language reports on the threats to the species cite the pet trade or the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) industry are the likely culprits. But Dr Tien-hsi Chen, a professor at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology’s Institute of Wildlife Conservation and Taiwan’s foremost turtle expert, says the reality is much more complicated.
Taiwan is losing its turtles to rich Chinese individuals, Chen says, not because they want them as pets or for TCM but rather because they are “speculating” on the turtle market, as every year their value increases. [FULL STORY]