The Asian Turtle Crisis: An Update

From “Eaten to Extinction”—Assignment Earth, on

Video from

Compare these two videos. The first, from Assignment Earth, draws upon the video tapes of the Guangzhou market in China taken by Dr. Bill McCord in 1997. His widely distributed video footage and photos published by NYTTS and others became a clarion call for action. The state of urgency was dubbed “The Asian Turtle Crisis” (a take-off on the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 90s), and numerous Web sites and news articles helped raise public awareness. Conservation programs have been launched both in Southeast Asia and in the United States. These include the Turtle Survival Alliance, the Asian Turtle Conservation Program, the Tennessee Aquarium (referenced in the video), the Behler Chelonian Center, Turtle Conservation & Research Programme (TCRP) (safeguarding the freshwater turtle species in northeast India), and the Terrapin Conservation Project at the Wetlands Institute).

But how much has changed in the 13 years since the orginal market videos and photos were taken? The second video was taken in May 2009, also in Guangzhou.

In this video, by, student activists Wen Zhenyu and Luo Xinmei are trying to halt the illegal sale of endangered animals for food and medicines. Note the footage of tanks and pens filled with turtles. The facilities look a bit more modern, but the conditions differ little.

See the complete story at

See also Frank Indiviglio’s blog article:
     The Asian Turtle Crisis Ч a Sobering Update