New localities of endangered Chinese turtles from museum specimens and the practical and ethical challenges using and reporting natural history collection data
The turtle fauna of Asia is one of the most diverse in terms of number of species, but is also the most endangered. This is a result of human activities such as habitat destruction and over-harvesting for the pet, food, and medicine trades (van Dijk et al., 2000). Effective conservation measures require adequate baseline data on the ecology, systematics, and geographic distribution of each species. Unfortunately, Asian turtle research is difficult because of the longstanding, high-volume Asian turtle trade that includes long-distance transport. Not only are wild turtles increasingly difficult to find, those found in the field may have escaped or been released into the wild. In particular, because of the turtle trade, reconstructing the natural distributions of turtles becomes a problem; turtle records from Asia need to be treated with caution. A specific example of this situation was pointed out by Parham & Li (1999), where some records from the pet trade proved to be misleading.
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Fong, J. J. & Qiao, G.-X. (2010). New localities of endangered Chinese turtles from museum specimens and the practical and ethical challenges using and reporting natural history collection data. Zootaxa, 2393, 59–68. Retrieved from http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2010/f/z02393p068f.pdf