‘Alien’ turtles threaten local species

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MANILA, Philippines—The environment department’s wildlife bureau is taking steps to curb the proliferation of an invasive Chinese soft-shell turtle, which has reportedly been wreaking havoc on native fish and aquatic animals in many parts of Luzon.

In a technical bulletin dated Feb. 22, Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) directed aquatic authorities to control the population of the turtle, considered to be an “invasive alien species.”

“Based on recent reports, it appears that Chinese soft-shell turtles have proliferated in certain wetlands and other areas of the country, including those devoted to aquaculture,” Lim said in the bulletin.

The report said the species is abundant in Pampanga and has likely established populations in the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Mindoro.

“The overpopulation of Chinese soft-shell turtles poses a significant threat to Philippine endemic and indigenous fish and aquatic animals as well as to local fishponds and fishery operations,” Lim said.

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