Study

Back from the brink: ex situ conservation and recovery of the critically endangered Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) in Myanmar

  • Published source details Platt S.G., Platt K., Khaing L.L., Yu T.T., Aung S.H., New S.S., Soe M.M., Myo K.M., Lwin T., Ko W.K., Aung S.H.N. & Rainwater T.R. (2017) Back from the brink: ex situ conservation and recovery of the critically endangered Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) in Myanmar. Herpetological Review, 48, 570-574.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Bring threatened wild populations into captivity

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Breed reptiles in captivity: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Bring threatened wild populations into captivity

    A replicated study in 2004–2016 in three wildlife sanctuaries in the central dry zone of Myanmar (Platt et al. 2017) found that three captive assurance colonies of Burmese star tortoises Geochelone platynota survived at least 12 years in captivity and bred. The total population of three captive assurance colonies of Burmese start tortoises increased from approximately 175 tortoises in 2004 to 7,150 tortoises in October 2016 (≤ 2-years-old: 4,849 individuals; subadults: 1,794 individuals; breeding adults: 501 individuals). Over 12 years, hatching rates were 50–75% (no further details are provided) and total annual number of hatchlings produced increased from 168 individuals in 2008 to 2,142 individuals in 2016. Female hatchlings hatched before 2010 had started laying eggs by 2016. The Burmese star tortoise was considered ecologically and functionally extinct in the wild during the 2000s. In 2004, three wildlife sanctuaries located within the tortoise’s historical geographic range were established as captive assurance colonies using confiscated juvenile, subadult and adult tortoises and some wild tortoises as founding stock (approximately 175 total tortoises of an equal sex ratio). Tortoises were housed in electric-fenced outdoor enclosures with shelter, food and water provided (see original paper for husbandry details). Nesting activity was monitored and eggs incubated and hatched in situ.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Breed reptiles in captivity: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated study in 2004–2016 in captive facilities in the central dry zone of Myanmar (Platt et al. 2017) found that three captive populations of Burmese star tortoises Geochelone platynota bred in captivity. Over 14 years, hatching rates were 50–75% (no further details are provided) and total annual number of hatchlings produced increased from 168 individuals in 2008, to 2,142 individuals in 2016. Female hatchlings that had hatched before 2010 started laying eggs by 2016. The Burmese star tortoise was considered ecologically and functionally extinct in the wild during the 2000s. In 2004, three wildlife sanctuaries located within the tortoises presumed historical geographic range were established as captive assurance colonies, using confiscated juvenile, subadult and adult tortoises and some wild tortoises as the founder population (approximately 175 total tortoises of an equal sex ratio). Tortoises were housed in electric-fenced outdoor enclosures with shelter, food and water provided (see original paper for husbandry details). Nesting activity was monitored and eggs were left in situ to incubate and hatch.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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