The other day Jon wondered why I wanted to know about Ming Dynasty era tortoises in China.Today all can be revealed.
For a few weeks now I have been reading the late Martin Booth`s autobiography `Gweilo A memoir of a Hong Kong childhood` (2005) in which the author describes his 3 years in Hong Kong with his mother and father,who was helping the allied war effort in Korea. Booth and his parents arrived in Hong Kong by boat in June 1952 and for a while he and his mother stayed in a
Booth says,that a mile or so beyond the sign to
Disturbed by these conditions, I suggested to my mother that we either set up a tortoise protection society or come back that night and kidnap it. Her reply was that the car boot could not take the weight,with which I had sadly to concur. However, I was permitted to sit on it to have my photo taken (1).
I have put those last 5 words in italics (not in the original) because there is a possibility for someone to look into this further and track down that photograph and see if it can be determined what species of tortoise it was or is. The Chinese navigator Zheng He and his admirals would have sailed close to the
A Chinese document, the Wu Pei Chi,mentions a navigation platform at the Seychelles and also,in Hong Kong,stones with concentric circles were found by Gavin Menzies,the author of `1421 The Year China Discovered the World`(2002) at Wong Chuk Ha, Chang Zhou and Po Ti (2) indicating where the fleet had watered and harboured.
Now obviously there is no conclusive evidence here that the 1950s Hong Kong tortoise did originate from Ming Dynasty
(1) M.Booth Gweilo. A memoir of a
(2) G.Menzies. 1421 The Year China Discovered The World (2002 p.175.
Interestingly, there is a rock formation on Po Ti (presumably Po Toi island,