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Euphrates softshell turtle (Rafetus euphraticus)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 12254484

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 12254484) - Euphrates softshell turtle - Awarded $7,000 on October 23, 2012


Rafetus is a genus of highly endangered softshell turtles in the Trionychidae family. It contains only two living species, R. euphraticus and R. swinhoei. The critically endangered softshell turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, is on the verge of extinction. The R. euphraticus is one of the least known species of the Trionychidae whihc  is a medium-sized trionychid turtle with a geographic range confined to the Euphrates and Tigris basins of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. This endangered turtle  faced on-going habitat destruction and fragmentation and also fisheries interactions mostly human caused. This turtle has been listed as endangered by IUCN.
The range of R. euphraticus in Iran is limited to Khuzestan Province. In most of the rivers of Khuzestan, fishing is done by small nets or line fishing. Local fishermen believe this species to be a competitor for fish, and it is often killed for this reason.

To help this endangered species survival, protectecting the R. euphraticus population in south-western Iran, began in February 2009 by Pars Herpetologists Institute and has proven successful and induced a significant behavioural change amongst the local population, providing confidence for future projects. To continue protecting R. euphraticus we needed to know about Genetic diversity of this species which is a necessary step towards its conservation. The project aims to continue conservation program through assess genetic diversity also raising awareness and community based conservation by publishing booklet and producing film.

Project 12254484 location - Iran, Asia