Mauremys sinensis is listed on CITES Appendix III (China). It is not protected under species protection legislation in Viet Nam. It is not listed on the China National Key Protected Animals list.
The primary conservation measure needed for Mauremys sinensis (and many other species and their ecosystem) is the creation of secure, adequately managed protected areas with suitable habitat. Surveys to further evaluate the status and occurrence of populations can be integrated into broader biodiversity surveys.
Mauremys sinensis breeds very well in captivity but assurance colony establishment should be based on genetically verified lineages or animals from known localities.
Mauremys sinensis occurs in coastal areas of southern China (Fujian, Guangdong, Guanxi, lowland Hainan and Zhejiang) from south of Shanghai to the border with Viet Nam, including lowland Hainan and much of Taiwan; in Viet Nam the species ranges at least as far south as Quang Ngai. Records from Hong Kong are generally thought to be based on trade specimens.
China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Province of China, Viet Nam
Mauremys sinensis has been heavily depleted in Viet Nam, surviving in fragmented wetlands where scattered individuals survive. Few adults have been caught in recent years; most records are of juveniles which are likely to be detected and collected before reaching adulthood. It is considered Endangered on the recent China National Red List.
While M. sinensis was considered somewhat secure in parts of its range until recently, it has subsequently been targeted by collectors as other, more valuable, turtle species have disappeared from the wild. At present, it appears that populations have collapsed throughout the range, including in former strongholds, representing at least an 80% reduction in total population of mature adults over the past generation (estimated at 20 years) due to ongoing over-exploitation combined with habitat loss and continuing.
Mauremys sinensis is widely collected from the wild for pets, as food, to supply turtle farms, and for merit release. Where it co-occurs with M. annamensis it has experienced more intensive exploitation pressures as a result of the intensity of M. annamensis capture efforts.
Habitat loss and degradation of lowland wetlands has been pervasive throughout most of the species’ range as wetlands have been converted for agricultural purposes.