Luodong Forest District Office is holding an exhibition to promote public awareness of conservation efforts for the yellow-margined box turtle, as poaching and smuggling has been on the rise due to the protected species’ increasing market value in China.
The exhibition at the Luodong Forestry Cultural Garden in Yilan County runs through June 21 to advocate conservation of the box turtle and other protected species. Various hunting gear is to be on display, including bird-catching nets and mouse traps, the office said.
The office urges the public to protect the yellow-margined box turtle — classified as a “rare and valuable species” in the nation’s three-category wildlife protection list — and not to eat, trade or hunt the reptile.
The office has removed about 720 turtle traps over the past five years, Luodong Forest District Office Director Lin Hao-chen (林澔貞) said, adding that the Coast Guard Administration and other agencies have seized more than 15,000 protected turtles being exported illegally.
Hunting poses the biggest threat to the endangered species, she said.
National Pingtung University of Science and Technology wildlife conservation professor Chen Tien-hsi (陳添喜) said that the trading price of adult box turtles in China is about NT$10,000 per 500g, which has made the turtle a coveted prize for poachers and smugglers.
China has created a global market for the yellow-margined box turtle — which is believed to hold a variety of medicinal properties — leading to aggressive harvesting of the turtles, he said, adding that habitat damage also threatens the species.
Some poachers exploit legal loopholes by saying that they “found” the reptiles they hunted when confronted by forestry officials, Chen said.
To close the loopholes, the central government should set a turtle possession limit by amending the Wild Animal Protection Act (野生動物保育法), he said.
National Ilan University forestry professor Mao Jean-jay (毛俊傑) said that the box turtle is in its most active season and people spotting them should refrain from posting the turtles’ whereabouts online to help curb poaching.
The yellow-margined box turtle is found in low-altitude forests in subtropical regions and is the only freshwater turtle found in Taiwan, according to the Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration.
When threatened, the turtle can retract its head, limbs and tail into its shell and bring its lower portion, the plastron, up to its carapace, inspiring the name box turtle, the administration said.
Although the box turtle is more commonly known in Mandarin as the “snake-eating turtle,” it feeds on a variety of foods other than snakes, including vegetables, mushrooms, insects and earthworms, the administration said, adding that it also scavenges the remains of larger animals.
The box turtle’s egg-laying season runs from this month to August, and each female turtle can produce up to four eggs per batch, the administration said.
The turtle grows very slowly and matures late in life, but adults have a very low mortality rate and can live more than 50 years if not hunted, the administration said.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,