We’re so excited to share our first #TurtleOfTheWeek of 2024! This week, meet the Keeled Box Turtle.
These unique little turtles are named for the three ridges, or keels, running down their backs. Think of them as having shells like little overturned boat hulls navigating leafy forest floors in Southeast Asia.
These overexploited, endangered turtles are collected for the food and pet trades, and occasionally for traditional medicine. Habitat destruction, particularly the logging of old-growth forests, also greatly threatens their future. Turtle Survival Alliance works to preserve the existence of this species through captive breeding at our Turtle Survival Center and supporting captive breeding efforts at the Turtle Conservation Center in Bangladesh. Since 2013, we have bred 40 Keeled Box Turtles at the Turtle Survival Center, increasing the dwindling number of this species.
Our partner in Bangladesh, the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA) works in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a rugged and remote region of southeastern Bangladesh to preserve turtle species in danger. The CCA works with local communities to perform population surveys and monitoring, promote education, awareness, and alternative livelihoods, and restore wild turtle and tortoise populations through reintroductions into Indigenous Community Conservation Areas. In 2017, the CCA, in collaboration with Turtle Survival Alliance and the Bangladesh Forest Department, established the Turtle Conservation Center in Bhawal National Park, aimed at establishing breeding populations for four priority species of turtle and tortoise that inhabit the Chittagong Hill Tracts, including the Keeled Box Turtle.
Pictured: Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora mouhotii)
Countries of Origin: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam
Habitat: Tropical and subtropical moist evergreen forests and lowland swamps
Wild Population: Decreasing; estimated population reduction between 50-80%; uncommon to moderately common depending on location
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
Threats: Habitat destruction; collection for the food, pet, and, occasionally, medicinal trades
Header image: A Keeled Box Turtle at the Turtle Survival Center. Photo by Rachel Harff.
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