CELS professor awarded Fulbright grant to study threatened turtle in Indonesia

Karraker-w-turtleUniversity of Rhode Island herpetologist Nancy Karraker has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright grant to travel to Indonesia to study declining populations of a turtle that is collected for food, traditional medicine and the pet trade, making it the most heavily traded turtle in the world.

Karraker, an associate professor of natural resources science, will spend seven months studying the Southeast Asian box turtle at Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Park in southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The Agricultural Institute of Bogor in Java will host her from November 2017 to May 2018.

“Turtles are declining rapidly throughout Southeast Asia,” said Karraker. “You can’t even do a population study of turtles in China anymore because most of them are functionally extinct. I’ve worked in Indonesia before – the language is beautiful, the culture is beautiful, the food is spectacular. But more important, this turtle is in trouble, and I know of only two places in Indonesia where enough still exist to study.”

Karraker said that turtles are in crisis in Asia. So many have been collected for food and the pet trade that many species are nearing extinction…[Read more]