Chitra vandijki is included in CITES Appendix II, and presumably is designated as Protected under Myanmar’s Protection of Wildlife, Wild Plants and Conservation of Natural Areas Law of 1994. However, enforcement of legislation is often lax and largely ineffectual in preventing trade from Myanmar to southern China (Platt et al. 2014). Chitra vandijki is known from the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary and there are seven confiscated animals in a large pond in Htamanthi Village (K. Platt, pers. comm. 2018). Captive breeding of this species is difficult (K. Platt pers. comm. 2018)
Chitra vandijki is endemic to Myanmar and confirmed records are available for the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers, and their tributaries (Platt et al. 2014), with more recent records from the Salween River and the Sittaung River (K. Platt pers. comm. 2018). It occurs below 300 m asl.
Almost no data are available regarding the population status of Chitra vandijki. However reports from local villagers and fishermen suggest that the species is “rare to very rare” along the Ayeyarwady River (van Dijk 1994). Interviews by Kuchling et al. (2004), on the other hand, suggest that C. vandijki is not as rare in the upper Chindwin and Nan Tha Let Rivers. It occurs from sea level to about 300 m above sea level. It is rare in the Salween River and the Sittaung River (K. Platt pers. comm. 2018). An estimated population decline of more than 80% is suspected in the past three generations and continuing into the future as a result of exploitation and habitat degradation (Participants Singapore Red List Workshop 2018).
Softshell turtles have long been consumed locally for subsistence. However, since the mid-1990s, international trade of live turtles into southern China has significantly increased. In addition to overexploitation, Chitra vandijki is likely impacted by gold mining activities within its limited range, and the use of explosives and poisons for fishing and habitat degradation along the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers (Kuchling et al. 2004). Local fishermen often kill this species as it bites through fishing nets, and community engagement to protect this turtle is difficult (K. Platt pers. comm. 2018).