Turtle Assurance Colonies 2017-05-19T09:58:24+00:00

Project Description

In addition to captive propagation of Burmese star tortoises and Burmese roofed turtles, WCS/TSA also maintains assurance colonies of Asian giant tortoises and Arakan forest turtles. About 60 Asian giant tortoises are held in assurance colonies located near Maymyo and Gwa. The tortoises are kept in spacious outdoor pens with access to deep pools for swimming and soaking. Nest material is supplied during the reproductive season, although results so far have been discouraging as most eggs have been destroyed by predatory ants. Artificial incubators are now being installed at both facilities so that eggs can be incubated safely indoors.

Gwa is also home to an assurance colony of Arakan forest turtles, a poorly known and critically endangered species endemic to the Rakhine Hills of western Myanmar (Platt et al., 2010). The colony was founded several years ago after a handful of turtles were seized by the Forest Department from wildlife traffickers. Originally housed in a ramshackle enclosure near the sanctuary headquarters, WCS/TSA sponsored a major renovation of this facility in 2012 and provided training on the care these rare and seldom-kept turtles.

These efforts paid off, and hatchlings were produced in 2013 and again in 2015, marking the first time these enigmatic turtles have been propagated in Myanmar and one of only a handful of successful breeding attempts anywhere in the world.

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