Thursday, 16 July 2015

Thousands of critically endangered turtles rescued in the Philippines

3,831 Palawan forest turtles, as well as Asian leaf turtles and southeast Asian box turtles, are rescued from a terrible conditions in remote warehouse

Wednesday 15 July 2015 12.53 BST

Thousands of critically endangered turtles have been saved from possible extinction after being rescued from terrible conditions in the Philippines, conservationists said Wednesday.

More than 4,000 live freshwater turtles and 90 dead ones were found in a dry concrete pond in a remote warehouse on the western island of Palawan four weeks ago in one of the country’s biggest wildlife rescues.

They included 3,831 Palawan forest turtles, a critically endangered species found only in the north of the large island, as well as 160 Asian leaf turtles and 25 Southeast Asian box turtles.

“The turtles were in terrible conditions,” said Sabine Schoppe, director of the Philippine Freshwater Turtle Conservation Programme.

The reptiles had apparently been without food or water for about six months, destined for the pet and food markets in Hong Kong and China, Schoppe said in a statement.

Veterinarians worked round the clock over the next few weeks to save the animals and prevent a potential species die-off.

“This number equalled the estimated remaining population of Palawan forest turtle in the wild, hence bringing the species to the brink of extinction,” the statement said.

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