In 2001, a programme on the conservation of wild fauna and flora and the establishment of nature reserves was begun in China. Many new nature reserves have been created, some of which offer habitat for tortoises and freshwater turtles (11). This species is protected by law in Hong Kong under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap. 170., under which collection of any wild turtles is prohibited unless under a special permit obtained from the Agricultural, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (7). Individuals employed by the Agricultural, Fisheries, and Conservation Department of Hong Kong also patrol protected territories to curb illegal hunting of native tortoises and freshwater turtles (11). Various captive breeding programmes for this species exist around the world (12), but this Department is also implementing a captive breeding project with a local conservation organisation that includes plans for subsequent reintroductions into the wild (11).
It has been advocated that the claimed medicinal properties of these turtles should be properly examined. Should results prove positive then industrial synthesis of the active compounds, alternative herbal medicine and turtle farming should be explored to reduce harvesting of the animal from the wild. If such claims are shown to be unfounded, the species could surely benefit from a publicity campaign to disseminate accurate information to the general public (13). In the meantime, the establishment of secure, protected populations in nature reserves and properly managed captive breeding programmes will probably be the only solution to prevent this colourful turtle from imminent extinction (8).