Monday, November 12, 2018

My Cousin: Golden Coin Turtle

The Golden Coin Turtle or Chinese Three-Striped box turtle is a species of turtle endemic to southern China.

The Golden Coin Turtle, because of its golden head and high monetary value, is on the brink of extinction due to the wildlife trade and the high value placed on it.

Eating the animal in a jelly is falsely believed to promote general well being, like a cure for everything from acne to cancer. Due to these false beliefs, the Golden Coin Turtle is one of the highest priced turtles in the trade, with prices for a single animal ranging from $10,000 to as high as $25,000.

The Turtle Conservancy program is the first repatriation of turtles captive-bred in another country (United States) back to their home country of China. The return of these animals will complete the circle of captive breeding, returning and eventually releasing these animals in the wild, which will provide an important boost for the remaining wild population.

The species is considered critically endangered due to its use in Chinese medicine, under threat because of unsustainable hunting. This is one of the most endangered turtle species in the world, according to an assessment by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).