The forest-dwelling people of the Malaysian Peninsula continue to rely on freshwater turtles as part of their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, while throughout southeast Asia, freshwater turtles are unsustainably exploited for local food sources, international trade and medicinal markets (9) (10).
A major threat to the survival of this species is the substantial market for its meat, use in the Chinese medicinal trade, and for the pet market. Nearly a million native live turtles of various species were exported from Malaysia in 1999 (6) (11) (12). There is little regulation of the laws protecting the Malaysian giant turtle, and trappers are illegally operating in forest reserves and parks in Peninsular Malaysia (9).
The Malaysian giant turtle is exported from Indonesia in large quantities, despite official protection, and is traded in East Asian food markets in huge numbers (1) (13). The Malaysian giant turtle is common in the food markets of Chao Tou in Ghangzhou, China (6).
Another threat to the Malaysian giant turtle is habitat degradation of Peninsular Malaysia where there is large scale conversion of forests to palm oil plantations (14).