Conservation Actions

Platysternon megacephalum is included in CITES Appendix I since 2013 (II China). It is protected under domestic legislation in P.R. China (Wild Animals Protection Law: Protected for Beneficial, Economic or Scientific Value), Hong Kong SAR (Wild Animals Protection Ordinance); Myanmar (Protection of Wildlife, Wild Plants and Conservation of Natural Areas Law, 1994: Completely Protected);Thailand (WARPA law, 1992: Protected Law no. 1, Section 3); and Viet Nam (Decree 32/2006/ND-CP: Category IIB). Platysternon is apparently not currently protected by legislation in Cambodia or Lao PDR.

Platysternon megacephalum has been confirmed to occur in a number of protected areas, however, not all such populations are secured from illegal targeted collection for trade. As it is highly aquatic, it is an easy target for hunters (Sung et al. 2015b).

Awareness of the necessity for field conservation action for this species among protected area rangers and national wildlife authorities, and full enforcement of the existing protective measures, are required. Platysternon needs to be included in protective legislation or regulation in Cambodia and Lao PDR. Further status surveys and monitoring of selected populations are needed.

Location Information

Platysternon megacephalum has a wide range from the hills of eastern Myanmar through northern Thailand, southern China including Hainan and Hong Kong, Lao PDR, northern, central and southern Viet Nam, to northeastern Cambodia.  

Geographic Range


Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam

Population Information

Platysternon megacephalum used to be common in certain parts of its distribution, but it is now rare throughout its range. It is considered CR in China. In the last three decades there has been significant collection of individuals of this species from most areas. The overall population trend is decreasing. Populations in Thailand and Hong Kong are presumed stable, but rapidly decreasing in other parts of the distribution. It is suspected that the population of this species has been reduced by over 90% in the past three generations (90 years).


Platysternon megacephalum is primarily threatened by intensive collection for the pet trade; the species is a popular pet or display animal (even though it generally adapts poorly to captivity), there is apparently some medicinal usage, and some stock accumulation for farming purposes may be taking place.

Degradation of stream habitat due to tourism and agriculture is an additional impact for various populations.

IUCN Red List Account Link

Please click here to see the species' IUCN Red List Account page.

Photo Credits

Ray So