This past month saw some unique species hatch at our Conservation Center. Two Oaxaca Wood Turtles, a species from southwestern Mexico, hatched naturally inside of their enclosure. And three Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtles, a small forest dwelling species found on the southern Japanese Islands of Okinawa, Kumejima and Tokashiki, joined our population of turtles and tortoises living within our temperate greenhouse.
The Oaxaca Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys rubida rubida) is listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, but it is probably much worse off and deserves further study. This species of small forest turtle has shown up being sold illegally in far-flung places as Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle (Geoemyda japonica) is designated as a National Treasure of Japan. The IUCN places this turtle in the Endangered category. Though it is heavily protected by the Japanese government, this species has been showing up in the illegal trade as well. Multiple large groups of wild caught specimens have been confiscated in Hong Kong in the past couple years.
These species require further study in the wild to better understand their status. The Turtle Conservancy is dedicated to the conservation of these species both at our southern California center and in the wild.