Nature and the Environment
in the News
Date:May 4, 2009

Will the illegal trade of the critically endangered Philippine forest turtle lead to its extinction?
By Andreas Rytz, Endangered Species International
May 04, 2009

Endangered Species International (ESI) conducted ongoing monitoring at markets known to sell pets and wild animals in Manila, Philippines, to monitor the status of the trade of one of the most endangered turtle in the world: the Philippine forest turtle [Siebenrockiella (Panayenemys) leytensis]. The critically endangered Philippine forest turtle is endemic to the Philippines, occurring only on one major island, Palawan, and its small satellite island, Dumaran.

During many visits, ESI staff encountered between two and ten Philippine forest turtle for sale at each market totalizing 171 animals over the 4-year period. The turtles were not sold openly as they were prior to 2005;
instead, they were kept hidden in the back of stores
and brought to potential buyers only when it was felt that
there were no risks involved. ?We continuously
observed S. leytensis in all major pet markets in
Manila, demonstrating that the domestic illegal
trade remains rampant and has not decreased over the years, that brings this unique species closer to extinction? said Pierre Fidenci, head of Endangered Species International.

In April 2009, the species was sold for between 50 and 75 USD per turtle, but could be negotiated down to 30 USD for smaller individuals. Turtles could be ordered within one