The numbers of Chinese trionyx (also known as the Far Eastern Turtle) is rapidly diminishing in Russia's Far East and it's now considered an endangered species. Several factors are responsible:
- Climate change: Originally the Far Eastern Turtle lived farther north, but cooling over the last centuries has caused the animal to migrate southward.
- Water pollution: There are now several industrial enterprises concentrated near the turtle's natural habitat.
- Tourism: Locals and visitors alike enjoy beaches the turtle inhabits.
- Fishing: The Far Eastern Turtle sometimes ends up in fishermans' nets while hunting for prey. Usually this results in its demise.
- Poaching: Turtle eggs can go for a lot of money on the black market, where they can be resold as culinary delicacies.
- Flooding: Summer flooding often results in damage to the beaches the turtles occupy, including damage to their eggs.
- Predators: Due to their relatively slow ageing process, any eggs attacked by predators are precious. Raccoons and badgers are aware of the season when they can feast on turtle eggs and regularly raid the appropriate beaches en masse.
For these reasons the Far Eastern Turtle is protected in three nature reserves: Bolshekhekhtsirsk, Khankaysk and Khingansk. Local rangers help the turtles speed up their reproductive process by collecting eggs and incubating them in a special laboratory. The offspring are then released into the wild. In order to save the species, more Trionyx need to be protected in new nature reserves that protect their eggs and help the offspring to hatch.