IUCN   ::   Species Survival Commission     ::     Chelonian Research Foundation    ::    Turtle Conservation Fund      ::      Turtle Conservancy     ::      re: wild     ::      Turtle Survival Alliance

Shi Haitao

Shi Haitao Receives the 14th Annual 2019 Behler Turtle Conservation Award


Shi Haitao


Shi Haitao, 2019 Behler Turtle Conservation Award Recipient

by Anders G.J. Rhodin and Rick Hudson
from TSA / TFTSG 2018 Symposium Program and Abstracts

by Daniel Gaillard and Anders G.J. Rhodin
from Turtle Survival Magazine 2019:54–55
(download pdf here)

This year the 14th annual Behler Turtle Conservation Award celebrates and honors Shi Haitao, China’s most pre-eminent turtle ecologist and conservationist. He is currently Professor and Vice-President of Hainan Normal University and Vice-Chairman of the Association for Science and Technology of Hainan Province. His early studies, on the ecology of the Central Asian Tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii), helped pave the way for future scientists to study turtle ecology and conservation in China. He has studied the ecology and conservation biology of about one-third of the tortoise and freshwater turtle species that occur in China. He created the Action Plan for the conservation of turtles in China in 2003, which has been guiding the research, conservation and capacity building of turtles in China. He was responsible for drafting proposals that resulted in all Chinese turtle species being listed under CITES regulations. He participated in the revision of China’s new wildlife protection law implemented in 2017, in which he successfully opposed the uncontrolled policies and laws on wildlife domestication. He published his Identification Manual for Turtle Conservation in China in Chinese in 2008 with a second edition in 2011, and an English version in 2013. The book includes the 31 native and the 95 non-native traded turtle species which could be found in China at that time. He established the Biodiversity Museum of Hainan, which includes a special section specifically devoted to turtles, and he founded the Eco-Environmental Education Center in Hainan Province, which filled a void in environmental education in Hainan, with more than 700,000 visitors to the Center to date. He created the first turtle research team in China, which currently has over 50 members, including 8 staff, 12 Ph.D. students, and numerous Masters and undergraduate students. To date 5 students have graduated with a Ph.D. and 23 students with a Masters. They will be the main force in turtle research and conservation in China in the future.

The TFTSG and TSA are honored to be joined again this year by the Turtle Conservancy and the Turtle Conservation Fund as co-presenters of this prestigious Award, bringing together the four turtle organizations most closely tied to John Behler’s legacy. This award would not be possible without the following group of dedicated and generous co-sponsors: Global Wildlife Conservation, Turtle Conservancy, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Chelonian Research Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, Turtle Conservation Fund, Surprise Spring Foundation, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Turtle Survival Alliance, George Meyer and Maria Semple, Brett and Nancy Stearns, and Deb Behler. 

Congratulations Shi, and thank you for your efforts on behalf of China’s endangered turtles – your recognition as a Behler Awardee is most highly deserved!

Anders G.J. Rhodin and Rick Hudson,
Co-Chairs, Behler Turtle Conservation Award Committee