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Range contractions in the Critically Endangered Seychelles terrapins (Pelusios spp.)

  • J. Gerlach and L. Canning (a1)

The status of the Seychelles endemic terrapins is reviewed based on field-surveys. Pelusios castanoides intergularis and P. subniger parietalis are confined to a small number of marshes and rivers. All the sites occupied are limited in area (<4.5 ha) and under threat from drainage, predation and invasion by alien water plants. The smallest populations are unlikely to be viable in the long-term. Both species can be categorized as Critically Endangered using the IUCN Red List categories, with highly restricted ranges (2.89 and 6.02 ha for P. castanoides and P. subniger, respectively) that have decreased by over 50 per cent in recent years. Conservation of these species requires both the protection of wetland habitats and the establishment of new populations in protected areas. A captive breeding programme has been established with the aim of reintroducing juveniles into secure reserves. The endemic species P. seychellensis may be extinct.

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