zsl-edge-of-existence:

Possibly the most famous radiated tortoise in the world was a female animal named Tu’i Malila (King Malila), a pet kept by the royal family of Tonga.  Legend says that Tu’i Malila was given to the royal family by captain James Cook in 1777.  Another story of her origin is that George Tupou I purchased her off a ship in the early 19th century.  Whatever the truth, Tu’i Malila was a treasured pet and national symbol, and her guests included the British royal family.  She died in 1965 of natural causes, with her age estimated at 188 years old, making her the longest-lived tortoise whose age has been verified.  Her preserved body (last image) is kept at the Royal Palace of Tonga.

A royal shell through and through.

typhlonectes:

Fine Tuning the Strategy to Save Madagascar’s Iconic Radiated Tortoise

by Jordan Gray | Dec. 13, 2017

With
the impending rainy season looming and an outbreak of pneumonic plague
quickly becoming an epidemic on the island nation of Madagascar, Turtle
Survival Alliance (TSA) President Rick Hudson and Utah Hogle Zoo’s (UHZ)
Christina Castellano had little time to waste this October.

On October
9th, after having received last-minute doses of doxycycline and
ciprofloxacin to combat the plague-causing bacterium, Rick and Christina
departed for their annual strategic planning session in Madagascar.

Focused on the perpetuity of the critically endangered Radiated Tortoise
(Astrochelys radiata), this annual session is so important to the fate of this species in the wild, even a deadly epidemic could not keep them away…

Read more: Turtle Survival Alliance

typhlonectes:

Turtle Conservancy:

Critically Endangered – Radiated Tortoise
(Astrochelys radiata).

Although this species has survived for thousands
of years in Madagascar, nothing could have prepared it for the onset of mankind. Humans
have had a huge impact including habitat destruction, collection for
the international wildlife trade, and collection for utilization by
local people.

Find out more about these turtles:

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Radiatedtortoise.cfm

http://www.arkive.org/radiated-tortoise/astrochelys-radiata/

… and ongoing conservation efforts:

http://madagascarpartnership.org/home/radiated_tortoise_project

(sources: The guardian, World Animal ProtectionCatchnews.com)

Human beings have the strange tendency to destroy the very thing we revere. The sad tale of the Indian star tortoise is testament to this fact. Loved as a pet and worshiped as spiritual symbol, this magnificent creature is reeling under the threat of flourishing illegal trade.

An extensive study by World Animal Protection has raised concerns about the impact of the rampant trade on the tortoises, famed for the star-like radiating patterns on their shells.

According to the study, over 55,000 tortoises are being poached from just one site in South East India annually.

Read more about the World Animal Protection study from the source

justanimaladay:

Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata

The Radiated Tortoise is endemic to Madagascar, preferring to live in the dry brush and thorn forests in the southern portion of the island. They graze on grasses, which make up most of their diet, but will also feed on cacti and fruits if they find them. They are very long lived, with estimated lifespans of up to 100 years. The oldest verified Radiated Tortoise belonged to the royal family of Tonga and lived to be 188 years old. 

These tortoises are classed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, as they have disappeared from 40% of their native range, and are experiencing ongoing population decline. In fact, it is estimated that they will be extinct within the next 50 years if current trends continue. Threats to the population are mainly habitat loss due to human expansion, and exploitation for the pet trade and for food by local people. 

justanimaladay:

Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata

The Radiated Tortoise is endemic to Madagascar, preferring to live in the dry brush and thorn forests in the southern portion of the island. They graze on grasses, which make up most of their diet, but will also feed on cacti and fruits if they find them. They are very long lived, with estimated lifespans of up to 100 years. The oldest verified Radiated Tortoise belonged to the royal family of Tonga and lived to be 188 years old. 

These tortoises are classed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, as they have disappeared from 40% of their native range, and are experiencing ongoing population decline. In fact, it is estimated that they will be extinct within the next 50 years if current trends continue. Threats to the population are mainly habitat loss due to human expansion, and exploitation for the pet trade and for food by local people. 

justanimaladay:

Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata

The Radiated Tortoise is endemic to Madagascar, preferring to live in the dry brush and thorn forests in the southern portion of the island. They graze on grasses, which make up most of their diet, but will also feed on cacti and fruits if they find them. They are very long lived, with estimated lifespans of up to 100 years. The oldest verified Radiated Tortoise belonged to the royal family of Tonga and lived to be 188 years old. 

These tortoises are classed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, as they have disappeared from 40% of their native range, and are experiencing ongoing population decline. In fact, it is estimated that they will be extinct within the next 50 years if current trends continue. Threats to the population are mainly habitat loss due to human expansion, and exploitation for the pet trade and for food by local people. 

How about a galapagos sized shell bump for River Grace, who won a place as one of the Broadcom MASTERS competition finalists, with his research on the seriously endangered Radiated tortoise. He noticed some interesting behavior from these shells when it rained. They seemed to do a dance. 

At 14, he went on to study this behavior for his research project and won his prestigious position while adding to the limited knowledge of these amazing tortoises. He says he hopes to continue doing conservation work in the future and gives many of us hope that future generations will keep on working to understand and prevent the extinction of our shelled friends. <3 

(Source: FloridaToday)

While visiting a Florida Tech facility that breeds tortoises with his father, West Shore Jr./Sr. High School student, River Grace, noticed something strange.

When it rained, certain tortoises appeared to dance. They stood tall, wiggled their legs, lifted them up and down and scratched them together.

Intrigued, the now 14-year-old decided to study the behavior for the science fair last spring.

His project, titled “Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species,” was recently chosen as one of 30 finalists in the national Broadcom MASTERS competition

While researching the Radiated Tortoise, River realized that not much is known about the species, which is only found in southern Madagascar. It’s critically endangered, and scientists estimate it could be extinct in the next 20 years

In some experiments, River simulated rain by using a water sprinkler and watching to see if males reacted differently than females, or if hatchlings reacted differently than adults. He found that gender did not play a role, but age did.

In addition, he tested six other species of tortoises, from other parts of the world. They did not behave the same way in the rain

River believes the dance may be a cleaning routine, which he wants to study further.

He’s also interested in conservation research that could help the species survive.

“We don’t know much about them, and of the scientific papers and all the information I could find, there’s hardly anything,” he said.

How about a galapagos sized shell bump for River Grace, who won a place as one of the Broadcom MASTERS competition finalists, with his research on the seriously endangered Radiated tortoise. He noticed some interesting behavior from these shells when it rained. They seemed to do a dance. 

At 14, he went on to study this behavior for his research project and won his prestigious position while adding to the limited knowledge of these amazing tortoises. He says he hopes to continue doing conservation work in the future and gives many of us hope that future generations will keep on working to understand and prevent the extinction of our shelled friends. <3 

(Source: FloridaToday)

While visiting a Florida Tech facility that breeds tortoises with his father, West Shore Jr./Sr. High School student, River Grace, noticed something strange.

When it rained, certain tortoises appeared to dance. They stood tall, wiggled their legs, lifted them up and down and scratched them together.

Intrigued, the now 14-year-old decided to study the behavior for the science fair last spring.

His project, titled “Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species,” was recently chosen as one of 30 finalists in the national Broadcom MASTERS competition

While researching the Radiated Tortoise, River realized that not much is known about the species, which is only found in southern Madagascar. It’s critically endangered, and scientists estimate it could be extinct in the next 20 years

In some experiments, River simulated rain by using a water sprinkler and watching to see if males reacted differently than females, or if hatchlings reacted differently than adults. He found that gender did not play a role, but age did.

In addition, he tested six other species of tortoises, from other parts of the world. They did not behave the same way in the rain

River believes the dance may be a cleaning routine, which he wants to study further.

He’s also interested in conservation research that could help the species survive.

“We don’t know much about them, and of the scientific papers and all the information I could find, there’s hardly anything,” he said.

Radiated tortoise in Madagascar with destroyed habitat. As the radiated tortoises are herbivores, grazing constitutes 80-90% of their diets, while they also eat fruits and succulent plants. They are known to graze regularly in the same area and are now endangered because of habitat destruction

Photograph: Gemma Catlin/Rex features

Radiated tortoise in Madagascar with destroyed habitat. As the radiated tortoises are herbivores, grazing constitutes 80-90% of their diets, while they also eat fruits and succulent plants. They are known to graze regularly in the same area and are now endangered because of habitat destruction

Photograph: Gemma Catlin/Rex features