Friday, 27 April 2012

Critically Endangered tortoises, raised in captivity, breed in the wild for the first time

Durrell reaches crucial milestone in the battle to save the rarest tortoise in the world
April 2012. The discovery of two baby ploughshare tortoises born in the wild to parents bred in  Durrell's conservation breeding programme provides hope that despite huge challenges the fight to save the world's rarest tortoise can be won.
There are probably as few as 500 adult ploughshare tortoises, or angonoka in Malagasy, left in their natural range, the bamboo scrub of Baly Bay in north-western Madagascar. Historically the main pressures on the ploughshare were habitat loss and introduced species, but in recent years the rise in poaching for the illegal pet trade outside of Madagascar has threatened to send the angonoka to extinction.
Durrell has been working for 25 years to save this species by reducing pressures to the remaining wild population and its habitat. Early successes included the establishment of Baly Bay National Park and the empowerment of local communities to protect habitat from bushfires. A core component of Durrell's efforts was the establishment of a captive breeding programme that would act both a safety net and the basis for a reintroduction programme.
Breeding programme
The breeding programme has been a great success but it takes a long time for tortoises to reach an age when they can be released back to the wild. First trial releases began in 1998 into an area of bamboo scrub habitat from which the species had previously been wiped out. Since that time, a total of 65 animals have been released with the goal that they would reach maturity and start breeding to secure the viability of the re-introduced population.
The tortoises were released as sub-adults and it has taken them a few years to reach maturity and so it only now that we are seeing the first generation of tortoises to be born from animals released from the programme into the wild.

No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails