Ploughshare tortoise

Bruce Coblentz

Latin name: Astrochelys yniphora

The ploughshare tortoise is arguably the rarest tortoise in the world. It is restricted to the dry scrub forest biome in the Baly Bay region of western Madagascar. Our project involved seeking out individual tortoises for radio-tagging, searching for new populations in this very remote region, and enlisting the support of local villagers in the region to aid in the protection of the tortoise. Local support was engendered through teaching local people how to snare introduced African river pigs (and provide self-locking cable snares) and thus protect very important local crops. In addition, tortoises that had previously been captured and kept as pets were located and removed to a remote captive breeding facility.