Asian Turtle Program
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No. 48, 30th September 2012



1. Myanmar: Grant received for Star Tortoise reintroduction

SOURCE: www.turtle – DATE: 24th September 2012

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) recently awarded the TSA a $24,800 grant to support a reintroduction program for Burmese star tortoises (Geochelone platynota) in Myanmar. This project is the first step in a larger project with the ultimate goal of reintroducing and establishing a breeding population of star tortoises at a wildlife sanctuary. The Burmese star tortoise is endemic to central Myanmar and ranked Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List. The general objectives of the project are to inform local communities of the reintroduction plans, reinforce local religious beliefs that confer protection to tortoises, and enlist the support of local communities.

Historically, G. platynota occurred throughout the dry zone of central Myanmar, but populations have declined since the late 1990's owing to chronic subsistence harvesting, unregulated commercial harvesting, and habitat destruction. It is now thought to be “ecologically extinct” in most areas.

This reintroduction project is a collaborative effort between the TSA and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and will be coordinated through WCS Myanmar in Yangon. To date the TSA and WCS have raised $43,500 in support of this reintroduction including funding from DWCF, WCS and the Turtle Conservation Fund. The TSA has invested heavily in expanding the star tortoise breeding program in Myanmar, having built 3 new facilities and therefore increasing the breeding success dramatically. As a result, many captive raised tortoises are now available to repopulate areas of former abundance.

Link to this web article online (English)


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