The McCord’s Box Turtle is considered by the Turtle Conservation Coalition to be one of the top 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles in the world. They are considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, though turtle biologists now presume it to likely be extinct in the wild due to collection for food and pet markets, habitat loss, and pollution.
McCord’s Box Turtles were described as a species as recently as 1988 based on imported specimens from Hong Kong; its true origins remained a mystery for two decades until scientists finally found their native habitat.
Today, it is believed that any remnant of this turtle’s wild population would be found in the form of solitary individuals traveling between bamboo patches in the forest, essentially rendering this turtle functionally extinct. It is only through captive-breeding programs such as the one at our Turtle Survival Center that the McCord’s Box Turtle has a chance at survival.
Pictured: McCord’s Box Turtle (Cuora mccordi)
Countries of Origin: China
Habitat: Bamboo patches in broadleaf forests and their accompanying shallow wetlands & small streams
Wild Population: Presumed extinct in the wild; last wild specimen observed in 2010
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered
Threats: Collection for the pet and food trades, habitat destruction, and pollution
Photos 1 & 2: Rachael Harff, photo 3: Cris Hagen
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