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US News The smiling turtle escapes extinction thanks to man

05:15  18 september  2020
05:15  18 september  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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tortues © Supplied by Le Point tortues

Good news that we did not expect. Scientists recently discovered that a species of Burmese turtle, the one that always gives the impression of smiling and which was presumed extinct two decades ago, now has nearly 1,000 animals in captivity. Some turtles have even been successfully released into the wild in Myanmar in the past five years, enthuses The New York Times . A situation that was far from being so encouraging a few years ago?

By the middle of the 20th century, many Burmese turtles died. Moreover, the overexploitation of their eggs prevented the population from reconstituting itself. An alarming finding that for a time escaped Western scientists, who had very little information on the state of biodiversity in this country of Asia South-East, whose borders were closed. In 2001, a rare turtle of this species was discovered by a villager.

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"We almost lost them"

The animal had been eaten but proved that its species was not completely extinct. Around the same time, a living specimen appeared in a Hong Kong market and subsequently landed with an American collector, who still has it in his possession. A conservation program was then launched with brio. “We almost lost them,” says Steven G Platt, herpetologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, aware of the positive impact of human intervention: “If we hadn't intervened when we did, this turtle would have simply disappeared, ”he continues. Turtles face one of the highest extinction risks of any animal group, with more than half of the planet's 360 species listed as threatened. A finding that strikes all the more Asian species.

Read also Biodiversity: 48 animal species saved from extinction since 1993

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This is interesting!