60 Captive Raised Myanmar Roofed Turtles Released
April 16, 2015
There is good news coming out of Myanmar (formerly Burma) as 60 captive raised Myanmar roofed turtles (Batagur trivittata), the second most endangered turtle in the world, have been released by villagers working with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA). Phys Org reports that the species, once thought extinct until a shell from a recently killed turtle was discovered in 2001 near a village on the Dokhtawady River. Following that discovery, live specimens were discovered in a wildlife market in China and in ponds in Mandalay. These same turtles formed the backbone for a captive breeding effort and the fruits of that effort was the February release of the 60 individuals back into the wild.
"This is the first chapter of a longer story yet to be written," WCS Regional Herpetologist Dr. Steven Platt said during a release ceremony. "It's one that will hopefully see the Myanmar roofed turtle restored as a functional member of this remote riverine landscape."
Herpetologists had concluded that prior to the release of the 60 turtles, there were just 10 females left in their native habitat in the Upper Chindwin River. The herpetologists worked with Myanmar’s Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry to breed the reptiles and a facility was opened in Linpha Village. That facility is now home to more than 300 turtles. The release of the turtles comes about after their carapace length reaches 25.3 cm, or about 7 years in age, in order to enhance their chance of survival. Several specimens were equipped with radio transmitters so scientists can further study their migration and habitat patterns.
John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata