There are only a few hundred European pond turtles, the only original species of turtle in the area, left in Slovakia.
The Ministry of Environment is taking steps to save it, such as ensuring enough appropriate water biotopes, protecting the species in law, mapping current turtle habitats, protecting egg clutches, eliminating invasive species of turtles, and identifying appropriate localities to attempt restitution.
“I am sure that these measures will bring real results because we don’t want to lose this precious species,” said Environment Minister László Sólymos, as quoted by the SITA newswire, on World Turtle Day.
The European pond turtle is a protected species of Slovak fauna, listed among the amphibia and reptiles of Slovakia that are critically endangered.
There are several reasons for its decline, mainly unfavourable climate factors, disruption of natural biotopes, human activities and competition with other species for habitat and food.
The biggest population of the European pond turtle is currently in national natural reservation Tajba (Trebišov area) where there are about 200 adult turtles. Besides that, there are several turtles in Bojnice zoo and in the natural reservation Šúr (Pezinok area).