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Little tortoise, big range

Range of the little-known impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) has just expanded by 528 miles

Date:
January 24, 2017
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
Scientists have discovered the impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) in the Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Myanmar, some 528 miles from its known range in that country.
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WCS scientists have discovered the impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) in the Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Myanmar, some 528 miles from its known range in that country.
Credit: WCS

WCS scientists have discovered the impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) in the Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Myanmar, some 528 miles from its known range in that country. The researchers reported their finding in the latest issue of the journal Asian Herpetological Research.

Previously, the little-known tortoise was believed to be restricted to western Myanmar, along with pockets of habitat in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and southern China, and south through Peninsular Malaysia.

Found by a @WCSMyanmar-led research team, the tortoise was crossing the famous Ledo Road -- a rugged dirt track critical to Allied supply lines in WWII. It was examined and photographed before being released into dense cover adjacent to the road.

Manouria impressa is considered Vulnerable to extinction by IUCN due to a combination of unsustainable subsistence harvesting, over-collecting for commercial wildlife markets in southern China, and widespread habitat destruction. It is related to the Asian forest tortoise (Manouria emys), which can weigh up to 55 pounds, though this species is much smaller with adults measuring only 14 inches across its carapace.

Said co-author Steve Platt of WCS: "Because the species is extremely difficult to maintain and propagate in captivity, protecting wild populations is the recommended conservation option. Given its size, relatively low human population density, and widespread availability of suitable upland forest habitat Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary could play a vital role in future efforts to protect it."

Platt notes that political and civil instability in the region has curtailed conservation efforts for the moment.


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Materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Saw HTUN and Steven G. PLATT. A Field Observation and Significant Range Extension of Manouria impressa in Myanmar. Asian Herpetological Research, 2017 DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.160003

Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Little tortoise, big range: Range of the little-known impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) has just expanded by 528 miles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124111443.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2017, January 24). Little tortoise, big range: Range of the little-known impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) has just expanded by 528 miles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124111443.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Little tortoise, big range: Range of the little-known impressed tortoise (Manouria impressa) has just expanded by 528 miles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124111443.htm (accessed May 8, 2017).