Seychelles undertakes census of Aldabra giant tortoise population on 3 main islands

Research |Author: Betymie Bonnelame | June 7, 2024, Friday @ 16:26| 3272 views

The natural habitat of the tortoise species, one of the largest in the world, is the Aldabra atoll. (Rich Baxter, IOTA) 

(Seychelles News Agency) - A census to determine the population of endemic Aldabra giant tortoises on Seychelles' three most populated islands, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, is ongoing and the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment is seeking more local volunteers to assist.

The census, which started in April 2023, is being done in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Tortoise Alliance (IOTA). The ministry is seeking the help of members of the public to assist the four-member team from the Biodiversity, Conservation and Management Division.

The census is currently being carried out in the north of the main island of Mahe by the division and in the south of the island by IOTA.  

The aim of the census is to know the tortoise population, understand its characteristics, nutrition, age, health, and living conditions, and this will give an indication whether they are healthy and well looked after. It will also take into account the species sizes, weights and sex.

The natural habitat of the tortoise species, one of the largest in the world, is the Aldabra atoll, one of Seychelles' UNESCO World Heritage sites. The species is listed as vulnerable by the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

A microchip will be inserted into each tortoise for administrative purposes and up to now, 244 tortoises have been microchipped.

The ministry is also calling on owners to register their giant tortoises and an assistant conservationist, Damien Labiche, said that "we will know how best to manage the species and its population in the future."

Labiche said there are many unregistered tortoises that will also have to be counted. Registration forms are available at the Biodiversity and Conservation office at the Botanical Gardens.

He added that apart from seeking and collecting information, the census will also benefit the owners as they be given advice on how to properly raise their tortoises, their health, nutrition and living environment.  

Tags: Aldabra Giant Tortoises, Indian Ocean Tortoise Alliance, UNESCO World Heritage sites, International Union for Conservation of Nature


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