Abstract

The Asian giant softshell turtle, Pelochelys cantorii (Trionychidae), is endangered and was designated as a First Grade Protected Animal in China in 1989 and listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List in 2000; the species has suffered a gradual reduction in its range, its total population has decreased, and the need to protect this species has been ignored. We investigated 13 nature reserves with P. cantorii as the main object of protection and 5 captive-breeding centers; we also present the results from a questionnaire sent to one nature reserve. We summarize the distribution and habitat characteristics, evaluate the species' conservation status in each nature reserve, analyze the causes of extinction, and put forward our proposal for the protection of P. cantorii.

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