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Rare Turtle May Become Extinct in 10 Years
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A species of rare turtle unique to southern mountains of east China's Anhui Province, which has not been seen by local villagers for five years, may disappear from the wild in 10 years, say scientists.


It is estimated there are only 100 golden-headed box turtles left in the wild, Lu Guobin, a wildlife protection official in Yixian county, quoted scientists from Anhui Normal University as saying.


The turtle was discovered as a new species in Anhui in 1988. It was put under provincial protection but missed the chance to be listed under state protection because of its late discovery, Lu said.


The turtle lives exclusively in the mountainous counties of Yixian and Jingxian. Villagers of Hongxing township, Yixian county, said they have not seen any of the turtles for the past five years.


Experts from the School of Life Science of Anhui Normal University, who have studied the golden-headed box turtle in Yixian county since 2000, want a 3,000-hectare natural reserve in Hongxing township to be built to protect the rare species.


The turtle lives in valleys and brooks and feeds on earthworms, locusts and snails.


(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2007)

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