Conservation of the Flat-tailed tortoise

Conservation of the Flat-tailed tortoise of madagascar

The flat-tailed tortoise
Our main goal in Madagascar, is to work on the Ploughshare tortoise conservation programme along with Durell Wildlife Trust, and our partners from Turtle Conservancy. Besides this project, we agreed in 2021 to fund a full scaled population survey of the other critically endangered tortoise: The Flat-tailed tortoise (Pyxis planicauda). This survey was done by Durell Wildlife Trust.
The Flat-tailed tortoise is critically endangered due to habitat loss, along with a high collection & exploitation in the early 2000’s. Luckily this trend has since stopped, but have still set its mark, because of their low reproduction rate.
In the last 5 years, its natural habitat(Menabe region) have seen a 30% loss because of deforestation, which leads to the question weather this have affected the population of the Flat-tailed tortoise.
The survey happened over a 3 month periode(December 2020 to march 2021). Over a size of 105km, 23 adult tortoises was collected. The total of 23 adults observed were all older than 12 years, except one female which was 5 years old.
The results obtained in the earlier survey (2017) wer very similar to the current one in 2021. They showing no significant decrease of the population of The flat-tailed tortoise within the last 4 years This was great news, but it should be noted that most of the animals collected for the survey were older adult specimens. This could be linked to the fact younger animals are smaller and are harder to find, but it could also mean that reproduction rate is not effective, and the number of offspring is decreasing.
We are happy be a part of this conservation programme with two well established and renowned Foundations.