Madagascar Tortoise

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Madagascar's turtles and tortoises rank among the most endangered reptiles on earth. Unless major conservation measure are taken up they will speed towards extinction.


Why should I be aware of this?

Currently all extant endemic species of tortoises and turtles of Madagascar are threatened and the rapidity with which chelonian populations have declined in Madagascar underscores the need for equally rapid action to protect them.

All about Madagascar Tortoise

Madagascar has a rich and diverse reptile fauna including several species of chelonians that are found nowhere else. It is home to such spectacular species as the Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata, the Spider Tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides, and the Ploughshare Tortoise, Astrochelys yniphora; which is considered to be the world's rarest tortoise and one of the most endangered reptiles.

Five turtle and tortoise species, the radiated tortoise or sokake (Astrochelys radiata), the ploughshare tortoise or angonoka (Astrochelys yniphora), the spider tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides sspp.), the flat-tailed tortoise or kapidolo (Pyxis planicauda), and the Madagascar big-headed turtle or rere (Erymnochelys madagascariensis), all endemic to Madagascar, were all assessed as Critically Endangered, the highest possible IUCN Red List category of threat of extinction.

For all these species, this represented a major worsening of their survival status in comparison to their previous IUCN Red List assessments. This is a very high number of Critically Endangered species and represents a significant portion (approx. 1/6) of the global total of turtle taxa in this category (= 31 species and subspecies). The angonoka in particular is literally on the brink of extinction, with only a few hundred adults remaining in the wild.[1]


  • Conservationists believe that only about 1,000 of these ploughshare tortoises remain.
  • They are found in a small area of north-western Madagascar, and the loss of even a small number would be devastating.
  • Although tortoises are protected in Nigeria, some species are still eaten in parts of the country, but the real risk lies from international collectors.
  • To buy a tortoise to eat might cost $10 (£5). To buy one as a pet might cost you $10,000 (£5,000).


  • Madagascar's Tortoises Are Crawling Toward Extinction, Groups Say
  • Species Survival Commission


  1. IUCN