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      Disappearance of endangered turtles within China's nature reserves.

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          Abstract

          China ranks first among Northern hemisphere countries for species richness, but approximately 43% of its species are threatened [1], with harvesting being the major threat to vertebrates [2]. To protect its biodiversity, China has established about 2,700 nature reserves covering 1.46 million km2 ( about 15% of China's territory, a percentage higher than the world average [3]). With increasing habitat destruction and harvesting, nature reserves are the final refugia for threatened species. However, many Chinese nature reserves are poorly managed, leaving them vulnerable to poaching and other human encroachment [4]. In this study, we conducted a 12-year (2002-2013) case study on turtles to illustrate the damaging impacts China's nature reserves have on wildlife conservation. We discovered that poaching occurred in all of the 56 reserves surveyed, resulting in dramatically reduced turtle populations. In a majority of the reserves, the reserve staff themselves were involved in poaching. Although nature reserves were created to protect plants and animals, they have become part of the problem due to weak enforcement of rules.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Curr. Biol.
          Current biology : CB
          Elsevier BV
          1879-0445
          0960-9822
          Mar 06 2017
          : 27
          : 5
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization, Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and Utilization, Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resources, Guangzhou 510260, China.
          [2 ] College of Life Science, Hainan Normal University, Haikou 571158, China. Electronic address: haitao-shi@263.net.
          [3 ] College of Forestry, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China.
          [4 ] Science Unit, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China.
          [5 ] School of Life Sciences of Peking University, Beijing100871, China.
          [6 ] College of Life Science, Hainan Normal University, Haikou 571158, China.
          Article
          S0960-9822(17)30072-6
          10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.039
          28267967

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