PLANS are underway to release
hundreds of star tortoises (Geochelone
Platynota) to the Minsontaung
Wildlife Sanctuary next year, said
Dr Kalyar of Turtle Survival Alliance.
This is the fourth time the
TSA has released the tortoises, a
critically endangered species, to
the sanctuary since 2013, she added.
The TSA first sent 150 star tortoises
to the Minsontaung Wildlife
Sanctuary in 2013, 300 tortoises in
2015 and an additional 300 tortoises
in February of this year.
Under its project, experts
from the TSA examine the health
situation of those tortoises under
the age of one year monthly before
they go to the sanctuary.
Small radio transmitters have
been installed on the back of each
turtle’s upper shell to provide information
for follow-up healthcare
to those land-dwelling reptiles
in the sanctuary, Dr Kalyar said.
The rare species is native
to the dry and deciduous forests
in the country.
It can be found in
Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway
This kind of tortoise normally
eats grass, weeds, leaves,
flowers and other fibrous plants
as well as earthworms and snails.
The tortoises normally lay eggs up
to four times a year.
There are three protected areas
for star tortoises in the country:
Lawkananda Wildlife Sanctuary
in Bagan; Shwesettaw Wildlife
Sanctuary in Minbu Township and
Minsontaung Wildlife Sanctuary
in Natogyi Township.
star tortoises are characterised
by the highly distinctive star
or radiating patterns on their upper
shell. Males are distinguished
from the females by a much thicker
and longer tail.