Sunday, 21 September 2008

Arakan Turtle

The Arakan Forest Turtle (Heosemys depressa) is an extremely rare turtle species which lives only in the Arakan hills of western Myanmar.
The Arakan Forest Turtle was believed extinct (last seen in 1908), but in 1994 was rediscovered when a few specimens turned up in Asian food markets. Like most Asian turtles, it is collected yearly as a food source or for "medical cures." Only a handful of these turtles are in captivity, and their status in the wild, which is dubious at best, is listed as critical.
"The animals seem to be extremely difficult to establish in captivity," said Peter Paul van Dijk, director of the tortoise and freshwater turtle program for Conservation International. There are only 12 Arakan Forest Turtles in captivity in the United States -- at Zoo Atlanta, the St. Louis Zoo, the Miami Metro Zoo and River Banks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina.
In May 2007 Zoo Atlanta, the only Arakan Forest turtle breeding facility in the world, announced the successful hatched of their fourth hatchling to have been born there in the last six years. They also announced that there is another egg near hatching, and two additional hatchlings did not survive. Arakan Forest turtles only mate once a year, and the eggs take 100 days to hatch.

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