Successful Tortoise Survey in South Africa

Ethan Freedman

Nov 13, 2017


Rainforest Trust worked to support the conservation of 810 acres of habitat for the Critically Endangered Geometric Tortoise, South Africa’s rarest tortoise. A recent survey discovered a large number of these and other tortoises in the area.

  • A researcher studies a Geometric Tortoise. Photo by James Juvik - Turtle Conservancy.

About 800 mature Critically Endangered Geometric Tortoises (Psammobates geometricus) are thought to remain in the wild. Recently, a survey around the site Rainforest Trust supports along with the Turtle Conservancy and South African Tortoise Conservation Trust found 72 mature tortoises in four hours.

Doing the math, that’s about 9 percent of the entire population.

Seen in four hours.

  • A Parrot-beaked Padloper. Photo by James Juvik - Turtle Conservancy.

Other than the Geometric Tortoises, the team spotted a Parrot-beaked Padloper (Homopus areolatus) and two Angulate Tortoises (Chersina angulata). In addition, a Common Genet (Genetta genetta) showed up on a nighttime camera trap photo.

  • A Common Genet showed up on a camera trap photo. Photo by James Juvik - Turtle Conservancy.

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