500 star tortoises born in Minzontaung
Over 500 star tortoises were born in the 5575-acre Minzontaung wildlife sanctuary in Natogyi township of Mandalay Region, according to the sanctuary office.
They were hatched from 1309 eggs laid by 76 female tortoises during 2017 and more are to be born, said Daw Lay Lay Khaing, administrator of the sanctuary.
There are over 2500 star tortoises in Minsontaung tortoise conservation camp and nearly 1000 have been released in a natural sanctuary, she said.
“We started with 12 star tortoises in Minsontaung and now we have about 4000. Our intention is not to breed the tortoises in cages. After nurturing them very carefully, we will free them in their natural habitat when they reach three to five years old. We monitor them using radio frequency waves,” said Daw Lay Lay Khaing.
As rare Myanmar star tortoises reach expensive prices on wildlife trading markets, some arrests were conducted in border camps following a tip-off. Recaptured tortoises are temporarily kept in Bant Bwe village, Pyinoolwin township, Mandalay Region, and transferred to Shwezettaw wildlife reserve, Lawka Nanda sanctuary and Minsontaung wildlife sanctuary.
“An awareness campaign is underway in villages around the sanctuary and villagers sometimes bring star tortoises. People have understood their value,” added Daw Lay Lay Khaing.
From 175 star tortoises seized on a truck headed to China for the illegal wildlife trade in 2011, the population of the species in Myanmar has increased up to 15,000, said Daw Kalyar, director of the Turtle Survival Association.
Myanmar is home to 26 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises, ranking fourth in Asia after Indonesia, India and Vietnam, and seventh in the world. Six out of 26 species are only found in Myanmar.
.© Copyright 2018 The Myanmar Times