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Keep informed on current news in the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Home > Animal Acupuncture > Turtles

TCM Demands Threaten Endangered Turtles

In May the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) released a list of the World’s Top 25 Most Endangered Turtles to highlight the survival crisis facing tortoises and freshwater turtles. Fully 200 of the 300 living species of tortoises and freshwater turtles are in danger of extinction.

In Indonesia, for example, the Sulawesi forest turtle is already endangered after being known to science for less than 10 years. The belief that soup and jelly made from the Chinese three-striped box turtle has cancer-curing properties had reduced populations of this species to a few remnant colonies in Northern Vietnam and China.

Human exploitation and development-related pressures are two of the biggest threats to the turtles. The TCF is particularly concerned with the demand from the Asian food and traditional medicine markets. Tons of live turtles are imported each day to southern China from the Southeast Asia region, with more than 10 million turtles traded each year.

Species on the Top 25 list survive in small numbers in Asia (12), South Africa (2), Madagascar (3), the Mediterranean (1), Australia (2), South America (2), Mesoamerica (1) and the United States (2).

For a complete listing, visit
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