Study

Trial release of the world's rarest tortoise Geochelone yniphora in Madagascar

  • Published source details Pedrono M. & Sarovy A. (2000) Trial release of the world's rarest tortoise Geochelone yniphora in Madagascar. Biological Conservation, 95, 333-342.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

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

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated, controlled study in 1986–1999 in dry deciduous forest in Madagascar (Pedrono & Sarovy 2000) found that released captive-bred subadult ploughshare tortoises Geochelone yniphora that were held in pens for four weeks prior to release and provided food and water survived at least one year in the wild. All five released captive-bred subadult ploughshare tortoises survived at least one year in the wild, and settled within 138–523 m of the release site. Released tortoises returned fewer times to the same locations over time (26% of daily locations were the same) compared to wild tortoises (44% of daily locations were the same). Over one year, daily movements were similar between released and wild tortoises (see original paper for details). A captive breeding programme was established in 1986 and five first-generation offspring (8–9 years old) were released in February 1998 and monitored using radio transmitters until January 1999. Five wild juvenile tortoises of a similar size and age in the same region were monitored at the same time. Released tortoises were placed in an acclimatisation pen for four weeks at the release site and initially provided with food and water.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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

    A replicated study in 1986–1997 in an outdoor captive facility in north-western Madagascar (Pedrono & Sarovy 2000) found that ploughshare tortoises Geochelone yniphora bred successfully in captivity and captive-born individuals survived at least 8–9 years in captivity. Over 10 years a captive breeding facility produced 255 surviving ploughshare tortoises and the captive population increased in size each year. The first successful captive hatching was one year after the programme began. The authors reported that mortality in captive-born juveniles was rare. In 1986, eight male and 10 female adult ploughshare tortoises were brought to an outdoor captive facility. Eggs were left to hatch in situ and after emerging, hatchlings were placed in 1 m2 rearing enclosures until four years of age when they were moved to a larger 20 m2 enclosure.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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