The offspring are the result of the pairings of Colton II, a male, and Large Marge and Scarlet, two females. This marks the first time that this species has successfully been hatched at the zoo.
The San Antonio Zoo announced that it has successfully hatched 22 Burmese mountain tortoises (Manouria emys phayrei) as part of the zoo’s head start and Species Survival Plan. The zoo noted that the exploitation of this species for the so-called traditional Chinese medicine trade is a major factor that threatens this species.
The offspring are the result of the pairings of Colton II, a male, and Large Marge and Scarlet, two females. This marks the first time that this species has successfully been hatched at the zoo. The zoo will work to headstart this species with the goal of reintroducing them into the wilds of Northeast India.
“We are incredibly proud of the successful hatching of the Burmese mountain tortoises at San Antonio Zoo,” Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo said in a statement released by the zoo. “This achievement is a testament to our ongoing conservation efforts and commitment to protecting endangered species. We hope these hatchlings will inspire people to take action and join us in safeguarding the future of these incredible creatures.”
The Burmese mountain tortoise is also known as the Asian forest tortoise or mountain tortoise. There are two recognized subspecies, M. e. emys and M. e. phayrei. Manouria emys emys occurs in southern Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo while M. e. phayrei is found in northwestern Thailand to northeastern India. Manouria emys phayrei is the largest tortoise in Asia. It can reach up to 24 inches (61 cm) in length and weigh up to 77 lbs. (35kg). Its main threats include commercial and subsistence hunting, The so-called traditional Chinese medicine trade, and forest habitat destruction. It is listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).