The European pond turtle in the Czech Republic

Emys orbicularis is one of the most endangered native species in the Czech Republic (CR) and its occurrence is gradually decreasing. The reasons for this are draining of wetlands and ponds, transformation of the land to fields or forests, and also hunting for meat. Turtles also served for lenten meals and since the Middle-Ages have been imported from more southerly countries.

At present, non-native populations and individuals in CR have been recorded namely in the regions with warmer climate. Successful reproduction occurs in the locality of Betlém (southern Moravia), where the total number of specimens is estimated to 200. However, survival of native turtles cannot be excluded. Data from BioLib (www.biolib.cz) and from the Species Occurence Database of the Nature Conservation (http://portal.nature.cz) obtained thanks to the participation of both professional and lay public show current incidence of E. orbicularis in some localities and provide hints for searching for the native turtles.

Organization HERPETA, in collaboration with the experts from the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, some universities, museums, and zoological gardens launched in 2014 a long-term project “The European pond turtle in the Czech Republic“. The project is aimed at preservation of the last E. orbicularis and their return to the localities where they are extinct.

The initial steps of the project consist in collecting data on the current occurrence, assessment of the habitat and temperature characteristics of selected localities (namely potential suitability for successful incubation), and identification of affiliation of the turtles to phylogenetic lineages. E. orbicularis is a suitable umbrella species; restoration of sandbanks would create stations for other rare animal and plant species. Further going on is monitoring of the occurrence and effect of non-native turtle species, which represent competition for the E. orbicularis and potential risk of infection spread to other animals as well.



Kontakty MPČR

Muzeum přírody Český ráj
Prachov 37, Jičín 506 01

Tel.: +420 732 858 380
+420 737 156 412
E-mail: mpcr@seznam.cz

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2019-03-10

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