In a new study, published in the scientific journal Nature Conservation, a research team analyses the genetic diversity of the endangered Four-eyed turtle, a species that has fallen victim to the growing wildlife trade in Vietnam. Having identified several distinct lineages in field-collected and local trade samples, the scientists warn that confiscated animals must not be released back into the wild before they have their origin traced back to the locality they have been captured.
For decades, it has been assumed that the Chinese Softshell Turtles from East Asia all belonged to one and the same species, Pelodiscus sinensis. Widely distributed all the way from the Russian Far East through the Korean Peninsula to China and Vietnam, the species was said to vary substantially in terms of its looks across localities. […]