The lost treasure of illicit commerce

"The Egyptian turtle" ... The second-smallest turtle is threatened with extinction

Wildlife scientists have agreed that the Egyptian tortoise is one of the most important species of wild turtles. Is at risk of extinction, being recently placed at the top of the red list of the most endangered species, That kind of turtle is a small pet with its calm and slow motion .


The Egyptian tortoise is the second largest wild turtle in the world, after the "spotted" turtle, Which is home to South Africa,Although classified as endangered species, they are widely distributed, living in Egypt from the shores of the Mediterranean to the delta and the sinai peninsula, It is spread over the Mediterranean shores of Libya, and although it can live in desert and semi-desert areas, it is rarely found far from the north coast are over 120 km.

Researchers believe that this turtle was once spread over an area of 123,000 square kilometers, But due to desertification, Their areas of existence have been reduced to an area of up to 16,000 square kilometres, with rainfall averaging less than 50 millimetres per year, thus spreading .


The gender of the Egyptian tortoise can be easily recognized; the female is larger than the male, with a shell of 14.4 cm in length, weighing between 300 and 350 grams , while The male is 10.2 cm long, weighs between 160 and 250 grams, has a smaller width and is longer than the female , But they are similar in that their shells are very high, and their shell colors range from ivory to faded gold, black and light yellow brown , and There are black lines on its edges, and its body gradients between faint ivory and brown , They are usually lighter in hot desert areas, while in warmer areas such as green mountain in Libya they are dark-coloured.

The turtle's activity is related to temperature, it is active in warm times, dwelling under trees or in their burrows in times of extreme heat or cold , In the winter it is active in the afternoon, and in the summer it is active in the early morning and after noon, and the mating season begins in the spring, specifically in March, The female gives birth to one to five eggs, the youngsters take five years to mature, the average age in captivity is more than 20 years, and the wildlife is more general.

The turtle is a vegetarian organism that feeds on herbs, vegetables, and fruits as well, so it can't get any after the harvest, Herbs that grow naturally without human intervention have become sheep pastures and thus suffer in the search for their food, contributing to their mortality and decline in Numbers. Hawks and birds of prey are more likely to target turtles as their favorite food, which takes no effort to eat , All they do is pick them up with their claws, fly with them, throw them on the rocks, break their shell, and only meat is left to eat.

In order to protect turtles, Egypt has enacted legislation no. 53 of 1966 for agriculture and no. 4 of 1994 for the environment. And prohibits the hunting, selling or transporting of this species of turtles without official permission , and the penalty is up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of 5 thousand to 50 thousand pounds, the confiscation of seized turtles and their release to their natural environment .

In 2002, the ministry of the environment set up a reproduction plant in the brigadier general reserve on the north-west coast of mathruh governorate, which started with four turtles , And today there are more than 750 turtles.

Other turtles in Egypt include the Nile turtle, the green turtle and the terrace, although the Nile turtle disappeared from the Nile after the construction of the al dam, It was confined to lake nasser, and the green turtle lives in the red sea, It is 1.5 metres long, weighs 315 kilograms, while it lives in the Mediterranean, is 90 centimetres long and weighs 135 kilograms.

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