Arakan Forest Turtle

ရခိုင်တောင်လိပ်၊ လိပ်ပြင်း

Heosemys depressa






Extinction risk

Global IUCN statusCR


Head to body length

Body weight (kg)


This species has a fairly restricted range within which there has been a continuing and very high level of habitat loss and related population reduction of >80% over three generations (estimated at 75 years) which is expected to continue for at least another generation. There is also extensive collection for subsistence use (more than for international trade), and the species typically has a low reproductive capacity.


Wild population



Myanmar population


Global population


Was previously thought to be very rare, but more recent telemetry information suggests that it is more common than previously realized (although still a relatively rare species). Extensive habitat loss in the species range has been responsible for at least an 80% decline in population size since 2004, based on levels of exploitation and destruction of habitat (bamboo forest). We believe that the rate of reduction over the past 3 generations is likely to be even higher than this. AOO of the species is 1064 km2 and its EOO covers 42292.704 km2 in its habitats.

Habitat ecology

Mostly found in tropical evergreen forest and bamboo forest, often along small streams. It is more terrestrial than semi-aquatic, being dormant for about 9 months a year, moving large distances in the rainy season. It is a burrowing species (usually found under banana roots and leaf litter) and very good at climbing over slopes and rocks. Males fight viciously in the breeding season. In captivity, it perhaps matures at 7-9 years; with a generation length possibly of 21-27 years; longevity might be about 70+ years. Eggs about 3-7 in perhaps a single clutch per year.

Threats to survival

Threats to survival

Recent rediscovery of a few specimens in markets in Myanmar and across the border in China confirm the rarity and threatened status of this rarely-seen species. There are very few in international trade; collection for subsistence food by local people (Chin and Rakhine people) is a greater threat to this species. Extensive habitat loss within the range of this species over the previous 75 years (roughly three generations) has significantly impacted the population. Shifting cultivation/slash & burn cultivation is a considerable threat to the species as is commercial logging. There is little law enforcement within the remote range of this species.

Instruction: The visualization shows threats that are impacting each species. According to IUCN, direct threats are the proximate human activities or processes that have impacted, are impacting, or may impact the the status of the taxon being assessed. Click of the highlighted icons to see details each threat category.

Use and trade

The international trade is relatively small and it is heavily hunted for local consumption by using domestic dogs.

Conservation Actions


Research undertaken

Is found in the buffer zones of the Rakhine Yoma Elephant Sanctuary, and the Kyauk Pan Taung Wildlife Sanctuary, but not in the protected areas which are too high elevations for this species. It is listed in CITES Appendix II. Radio telemetry studies on two populations. Assurance colonies. Education and awareness-raising. Monitoring. A completely protected species in Conservation of Biodiversity and Protected Area Law (2018).

Research needed

Better site protection needed. Found mostly outside of protected areas. Research is needed to gain a greater understanding of population size, life history, captive breeding, husbandry, and potential release sites.

Assessed by

Kalyar Platt,Me Me Soe,Htun Thu,Kyaw Thu Zaw Wint,Swann Htet Naing Aung,Ko Myint,Kyi Soe Lwin

Reviewed by

James Tallant,Monica Böhm



National Redlist of Threatened Species in Myanmar

The Myanmar National Red List of threatened species contributes to the GEF funded “Strengthening Sustainability of Protected Area Management in Myanmar” project. To support the National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (2015-2020), Target 12 for commitment to prevent the extinction of known threatened species and improve their conservation status, the National Red List of some selected taxa has been produced. This report summarizes the assessment process and its results with detailed descriptions for some selected threatened species in Myanmar.