Good news from Libya

11 Apr 2016

Customs  officers  have  just  seized  a  total  of  1,700  Kleinmann’s  tortoises (Testudo  kleinmanni)  in  a minibus  and  a  heavy truck. These were the first 2 seizures observed in Libya since the July 2013 publication of “On the trail” n°1, the bulletin of Robin des Bois dedicated to poaching and smuggling endangered animal species.

They prove that despite the political and social chaos, wildlife is not completely left to the devices of traffickers and militia. The 2 vehicles were heading to Egypt. The first reports show that the 200 tortoises in the minibus were collected in the desert to the south of Tripoli. The 1,500 tortoises found in 18 bags inside the truck were collected in an area south of Benghazi.

Testudo-kleinmanni_robin-des-boisTestudo kleinmanni, CITES* Appendix I © Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Kleinmann’s tortoise is one of the most endangered tortoises. Not long ago, its distribution range included Libya and  Egypt.  Except  for  a  few  isolated  individuals,  these  tortoises  have  disappeared  from  Egypt.  Its  last known  habitats were the coastal deserts of Tripolitania, in the western part of the country, and Cyrenaica, in the eastern part.  Kleinmann’s  tortoises  need  the  moisture  that  the  Mediterranean  Sea  brings.  In  the  scorching heat  of  the  day,  and  on  cold  nights,  the  tortoises  bury  themselves  in  the  burrows  that  small  mammals  have  abandoned. Kleinmann’s tortoises are vegetarian, but if necessary, they eat insects and the excrement of desert rodents. A female Kleinmann’s tortoise lays 5 eggs, with an incubation period of 20 days. Kleinmann’s tortoises have camouflage that is almost military. Unfortunately, this is not enough to spare it from the international pet market. A specimen sells for between $ 700 US and $ 1000 US.


See also
“On the Trail” n°11 (pdf 100 p. – 6.8 Mo)


* Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora





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