Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Who saved the black terrapin from extinction?

July 15, 2013

Recycled Glass Turtle Night Light | UncommonGoodsThe bad news is that no one saved this species of turtle from extinction. In the 1980s, researchers scoured the island of Seychelles, off the eastern coast of Africa, and could find not one of the Pelusios seychellensis, first identified by August Brauer 100 years earlier. The good news is that the turtle wasn’t saved because it simply never existed. The specimen Brauer collected was actually a Pelusios castaneus, which is still commonly found on Africa’s western coast. Evidence indicates that Brauer purchased his turtles, rather than catching them in the wild, and it’s unknown whether they had been transported before their sale, or if Brauer simply mislabeled them. Either way, it’s a rare case of an animal being taken off the extinction list because it no longer exists.

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