ATCN News

Date: May 30th,2008

Honghe University, Mengzi, P. R. China

Workshop on Rafetus Conservation in the Honghe
(Red River) Drainage Area

Organized by:
Honghe University, Agriculture Bureau of Honghe Prefecture (Fishery Management Bureau of Honghe Prefecture),Yunnan Academe of Fishery Science, CI-Shanshui Center for Nature and Society

Participants:
ZHANG Li, Senior Species Program Officer of CI-Shanshui
SONG Huanbin, Vice-president of Honghe University
ZHANG Chanbang, Director of Science and Technology Bureau of Honghe University
GUO Yali, Dean of the Lifescience School of Honghe University
WANG Guobin, Deputy Director General of Agriculture Bureau of Honghe Prefecture
ZHU Ziren, Captain of the Fishery Management and Law-Enforcement Detachment
BAO Hong, Deputy Director General of Fishery Management Bureau in Yunnan Agriculture Bureau
YANG Zhengrong, Master of Yunnan Fishery Agency
KE Bin, Captain of the Fishery Management and Law-Enforcement General Corps
QIU Jiarong, Dean of Yunnan Academe of Fishery Science
HAN Lianxian, Professor in the Conservation Biology School of Southwest Forestry University
CUI Guihua, Senior Engineer in Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academe of Science
WEN Cheng, Consultant for Rafetus Program in CI-Shanshui, Instructor in Honghe University, PhD student in Peking University
WANG Jian, Intern in Kunming Office of CI-Shanshui, Graduate student in the Conservation Biology School of Southwest Forestry University
The staff of the Fishery Management and Law-Enforcement Detachment from all the counties in the drainage area in Honghe Prefecture
The staff from Daweishan Nature Reserve, Fenshuiling Nature Reserve and Huanglianshan Nature Reserve
52 personnel in total.

Schedules:
A.M.
The representative of host, ZHANG Chanbang introduced the participants and honored guests. SONG Huanbin gave a brief salutary and a brief introduction to the Honghe University.

ZHANG Li gave a presentation on the general situation of the aquatic wildlife conservation.

BAO Hong gave a presentation on the aquatic wildlife conservation in Yunnan, emphasizing the recent progress in the conservation of Schizothorax spp and Anabarilius spp.

ZHU Ziren gave a presentation on the aquatic wildlife conservation in Honghe Prefecture, emphasizing the situation on giant softshells. According to the documents, more than 500 giant softshells, ranging from 50 kg to 150 kg, were captured and killed by the Commercial Fishing Corps of Gejiu Dietary Service Company from 1959 to 1963, which is the time of ?Three-year Natural Disaster?, in another word, ?Great Famine?. All of these animals were caught in the upper reach of the Red River. The 2007 Rafetus Survey covered most of the locations. In the late 1980s and the whole 1990s, softshells of uncertain species, which were rescued from markets, were released to the river in great number (hundreds of) every year. All of the giant individuals were identified as Pelochelys cantorii. Actually, in the scanty of preserved images, the two individuals with detailed image records are both Rafetus.

Break.
A presentation on the status of scientific research and conservation progress on the species in the global scale was given by WANG Jian. A presentation on the results from the 2007 survey in the drainage area was given by WEN Cheng, the problems and challenges were also discussed.
P.M.

ZHANG Li gave a presentation on the status of turtle trade in South China.

A training course on the identification of the native and traded chelonian species in Yunnan was given by WEN Cheng.

Free discussion and communication.

Brief summing-up was given by ZHANG Li.

During lunch and supper time, participants discussed the affairs on cooperation and reached common understanding.

Outcome:
1. The staff of the Fishery Management and Law-Enforcement Detachment and the staff from local nature reserves acquired basic training on the identification of different softshells and their endangered status respectively. Their capacity of law-enforcement was strengthened. They promised to pay more attention and effort on the softshells in routine work and immediately contact with CI-Shanshui once there is any suspected record. The staff also promised to cooperate with CI-Shanshui team in following field surveys and market surveys. Market monitoring will be persisted as a long-term task.

2. Honghe University reached agreement with the Fishery Management Bureau of Honghe Prefecture, a research center on Rafetus and other endangered, endemic aquatic wildlife in the drainage area will be launched soon. Honghe University donated 20 Mu (about 1 ha) land for any possible experimental usage in future. Long-term goals emerged: a national aquatic germplasm reserve in the Nanxi River (a tributary of the Red River) will be declared, based on the data from following surveys. in situ conservation of certain species will be achieved there while ex situ conservation of certain species will be achieved in the donated land.

3. Preliminarily, an agreement is reached that a survey on the endangered aquatic wildlife in the Nanxi River will be applied for under the cooperation of Honghe University, Fishery Management Bureau of Honghe Prefecture and Yunnan Academe of Fishery Science.

4. Another set of photos of a male Rafetus were identified. The male with weight of 41.5kg was released in 1997. The record was itemed as ?suspected? in 2007 report.