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Leuteritz, T. E. J., Lamb, T., & Limberaza, J. C. (2005). Distribution, status, and conservation of radiated tortoises (geochelone radiata) in madagascar. Biological Conservation, 124(4), 451–461. 
Added by: Admin (13 Dec 2008 22:23:45 UTC)
Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Leuteritz2005a
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Categories: General
Keywords: Astrochelys, Astrochelys radiata, Geochelone, Habitat = habitat, Madagaskar = Madagascar, Schildkröten = turtles + tortoises, Testudinidae
Creators: Lamb, Leuteritz, Limberaza
Collection: Biological Conservation
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Testudinidae The radiated tortoise, Geochelone radiata, one of Madagascar’s four endemic tortoises, occupies a narrow band of xeric spiny forest along the island’s southwest coast. Traditionally avoided by indigenous tribes, these tortoises are now routinely harvested for food. An accurate assessment of human exploitation remains problematic, however, hindered by limited, dated statistics available on tortoise populations. To update the radiated tortoise’s status and distribution, we established a series of line transects at seven localities across its range and implemented a mark-recapture study at one of these localities (Cap Sainte Marie). Tortoises currently range from south of Tulear to east of Cap Sainte Marie, at density estimates spanning 27–5744 tortoises/km2. The mark-recapture estimate for Cap Sainte Marie (1905–2105 tortoises/km2) was substantially higher than its transect estimate (654 tortoises/km2) though comparable to actual tortoise captures (1438) there. Thus, our transect density values probably err as underestimates, and from these data, we calculate a conservative total population size of 12 million radiated tortoises. We also examined mitochondrial DNA sequences (ND4 gene) for two individuals/locality in a preliminary assessment of genetic variation across the species’ range. Only two ND4 haplotypes were recovered, the more common haplotype representing 13 of the 14 individuals. We offer several conservation recommendations in light of our survey results.
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