Asian Giant Tortoise (Manouria emys)

Interesting :

It is considered as largest turtle in Asia because of its tortoiseshell’s length of 2 feet which is black or brown and high curve and 30-40 kilograms of weight. It has front legs with big scale and short back legs with big round nails, spike with bone inside being between back legs and bottom in each side which help against in climbing up looked like 2 legs added becoming 6 legs so it is called Tow-Hok.

Habitat :

It has been found in Burma, Assump and Thailand, especially in Northern and Western part such as Tak, Karnchanaburi and Tanaowasri mountain range. Manouria emys exclusively inhabits evergreen forest, from lowland regions up to altitudes of about 1,000 m (typically 600-1,500 m). The animals appreciate moisture and are typically found near water and frequently burrow in damp soil (Nutphand 1979). Lambert and Howes (1994) radio-tagged a female at Danum Valley in Sabah. This animal ranged in an area of 0.6 km2 during 53 days of almost daily observation, her locations generally clustering for several days followed by a long walk of up to about 300 m, followed by another period spent in a limited area. Wanchai (2008) found the species to utilise a range of habitats, including bamboo forest, dry evergreen forest mixed with bamboo, dry evergreen forest, stream courses and swampy stream edges. Juveniles are rarely observed more than 20 m from streams; adults are also generally close to streams except during the raining season when they are seen to forage at greater elevations (Wanchai 2008). During the dry season, most individuals become inactive for a period of up to two months, buried in litter or under tree falls. The diet has been reported to include bamboo shoots, tubers and other juicy vegetation (Nutaphand 1979) and some invertebrates and frogs (Humphrey and Bain 1990). Lambert and Howes (1994) observed their radio-tagged female feeding on 19 occasions, eating predominantly green leaves of understory plants and mushrooms, as well as some seedlings, sometimes including the roots, and fallen figs (Ficus punctata) on one occasion. Animals of the nominate subspecies can reach up to 50 cm carapace length and 20 kg, while subspecies M. e. phayrei reaches 60 cm carapace length and 37 kg (Nutphand 1979). Size and age at maturity have apparently not been reported. The social behaviour of this species is quite complex, with elaborate dominance and courtship rituals (described in captivity and illustrated in detail by McKeown et al. 1990). Lambert and Howes (1994) noted (attempted) matings of their radio-tagged female at Danum Valley during 6-9 March and on 16 April by a different male; another mating was observed on 14 May. In captivity, a nest is constructed by the female by sweeping leaf litter backwards to form a nest mound. In this mound, a clutch of on average 35 (range 15-51, N=24) spherical or slightly elongate eggs (41-54 mm diameter, weight 46-80 g) is laid, with larger females typically produces more eggs. The nest is defended against potential predators by the female during the first few days. In captivity, M. e. phayrei reaches sexuality maturity at about 15 years (Fahz 2010). Longevity of this subspecies has been recorded up to 20 years, but it is likely to be much longer (Slavens and Slavens 2000). Generation length is estimated at about 45 years (three times age of maturity).

Food :

It likes to eat vegetable, fruit, taro, potato including shell and snail.

Behavior :

It likes afloat landscape and dig a hole then hide itself inside. It prefers to live at mountain and water.

Current Status :

Critically Endangered Manouria emys is included in CITES Appendix II with all Testudinae spp., allowing international commercial trade in the species provided such trade is not detrimental to the species, and subject to national trade legislation. It is also included in Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 (amended); it warrants revision to Schedule I. The species is protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act (2010) in Malaysia and trade is regulated. Manouria emys is protected under domestic legislation in Myanmar and under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act (1992) in Thailand. It is expected to be included under Government Decree No. 7 in Indonesia soon; in 2017 Indonesian quotas were set at 50 animals, under 20 cm, for the pet trade. In India, the Nengpui Wildlife Sanctuary, North Cachar Hills and Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary are known to support wild populations in less disturbed habitats (Ahmed and Das 2010). In Bangladesh it occurs in the Sangu Wildlife Sanctuary (Rahman et al. 2015). In Myanmar, M. emys occurs in at least one protected area: Rakhine Yoma Elephant Sanctuary. In Thailand, the species occurs in several protected areas, including: Kaeng Krachan National Park, Mae Wong National Park, Khlong Lan National Park, Khao Pra Bang Kram Wildlife Sanctuary, Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, protected areas in the Nakhon Sri Thammarat mountains, and Bang Lang National Park in southern Yala Province (van Dijk and Thirakhupt 1995, Wanchai 2008; P.P. van Dijk pers. comm.). In Peninsular Malaysia, it occurs in one protected area: Taman Negara National Park (Lim and Das 1999, Norsham et al. 2000). In Indonesia, the species occurs in three protected areas: Gunung Leuser National Park, Danau Sentarum National Park, and Kerinci Seblat National Park. In Sabah, Malaysia, the species occurs in at least two protected areas: Tabin Wildlife Reserve (Høybye-Mortensen 2004) and Danum Valley Conservation Area (Lambert and Howes 1994). Assurance colonies of M. emys exist both in-range and ex situ, but maintaining large enough groups in captivity to maintain genetic diversity is beyond what is logistically feasible. Three such facilities currently exist in Myanmar alone, with others established or proposed throughout southern Asia. A large assurance colony of 24 M. e. phayrei has been established at the Zeepin Forest Reserve in Shan State, Myanmar. An assurance colony composed of village-confiscated M. e. phayrei has been established at the Rakhine Yoma Elephant Sanctuary in Myanmar. A much large assurance colony has been established at the Mandalay Zoo in Myanmar, which will be stocked with confiscated animals (Turtle Survival Alliance, unpubl. data 2012). Captive breeding by animals currently maintained in captivity can easily meet hobbyist market for this species, and a complete trade ban on wild-collected animals should be considered. Captive populations are kept in a variety of zoos and other facilities (India, Sarawak), and can form the nucleus of captive breeding programs for eventual re-introduction. Training on husbandry and captive management is needed, as well as development of a strategy to replenish wild populations with captive-produced specimens. The survival of the species outside protected areas seems unlikely, and effective protection of existing and perhaps additional protected areas will be key to its survival in the wild. Additionally, raising public awareness and utilising eco-tourism techniques may help to reduce poaching in protected areas. Additional survey efforts are needed across the species range. As the species occurs mostly outside protected areas or within exploited protected areas, community-based conservation could improve the conservation scenario faster in the northeast India (M.F. Ahmed pers. comm. 2010). Updated status, especially in protected areas, is urgently needed, and more ecological information is desirable, as is detailed range-wide genetic and taxonomic characterisation of populations, particularly regarding subspecies in northeast Indian states. Captive breeding programs are required in Indonesia to sustain the population.


CLASS : Reptilia

ORDER : Testudines

FAMILY : Testudinidae

GENUS : Manouria

SPECIES : Asian Giant Tortoise (Manouria emys)

Conservation status : Critically Endangered

Age :

can prolong its age to 100 years.

Reproductive :

it lays about 50 eggs in each time.

Reference :

For more information

Point of view :

Update : 11 April 2017