Tortoises from pagoda’s lake released into community forest in southern Myanmar for 2nd time

Volunteers ready to release yellow tortoises into water-shed area in  Yebyu Township.—Photo: WCS (Myanmar)
Volunteers ready to release yellow tortoises into water-shed area in Yebyu Township.—Photo: WCS (Myanmar)

Yangon, 8 Feb — Local people in Dawei Township released 42 yellow tortoises (Indotestudo elongate) from a pagoda’s lake into a watershed area in Yebyu Township on 2 February as part of efforts for conservation of the species endemic to Myanmar.
This is the second time to release tortoises from a lake into a natural sanctuary area, according the Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar).
In December 2014, local people in Dawei and the WCS released 82 tortoises, 80 Sauk Leik (Morenia ocellata) and two soft-shell turtles, from a pagoda’s lake into a natural
sanctuary area.
There may be thousands of tortoises that are breeding in dense populations in lakes at some pagodas across the country, said U Win Ko Ko, a technical coordinator (Reptiles), of the Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar).
According to Myanmar culture, people set tortoises free that they find into lakes at pagodas for the safety of the tortoises.
However, the population of tortoises at pagoda lakes has grown high, causing impact on their reproduction, said the tortoise expert.
There are more than 10 species of tortoises in pagoda lakes, he added.
A local community society in Dawei has also proposed to the WCS (Myanmar) to find a suitable natural sanctuary for the tortoises in another pagoda’s lake, he added.
The WCS (Myanmar) can arrange to release turtles from lakes into natural sanctuaries, according to the group. GNLM

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