Radiated Tortoise - Astrochelys radiata
Now listed as Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red Lit, Astrochelys radiata (Testudinidae), endemic to the spiny forest of southern Madagascar, had virtually never been studied in the wild until the late 1990s.
Recent research projects and surveys have contributed to defining the extent of the decline of the species, and it now appears that A. radiata faces serious extinction risks unless current trends are halted.
This species is heavily harvested for food and for the pet trade. In wild mature females of this species produce up to three clutches per season with only 1–5 eggs per clutch, leading to an estimated average production of two clutches of four eggs each per breeding female.
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Photo credit: ©Bernard Dupont | Locality: Toliara, Madagascar (2013)