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The Temple Turtles of Sang Poh Tong  - Page 7  - Chris Tabaka DVM

There were apparently a number of losses judging by the shells and bone fragments just a little ways away from the pond itself.  Considering the concentration of animals and lack of circulation/filtration in the pond, this was not surprising.

There are a number of positive steps that have been taken to help these so called temple turtles.  For example, in Myanmar, there are now posters present in a number of Buddhist temples denoting the differences between a turtle and a tortoise.  All too often, well meaning temple visitors would bring in an Indotestudo elongata (Elongated tortoise) and place it in a concrete pond with no way for the animal to crawl out thus leading to it's demise.  The posters are serving to differentiate the aquatics from the terrestrials and thus prevent these accidental drownings.  

There is also consideration in some circles for doing 'catch/release/recatch/rerelease' programs for temple turtles thus keeping the population at a finite level rather than continuing to add animals from the wild.  Still others are looking into utilizing such species as Trachemys scripta elegans for the turtle pond releases rather than native stock.

If the efforts that go into this cultural and spiritual practice can be harnessed for the conservation of a number of Asian chelonian in situ efforts in a number of temples throughout Asia.....we could develop a very powerful ally in the continual struggle to solve the Asian Turtle Crisis. 



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