THE populations of star tortoises (Geocheloneplatynota) in the Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary is rising, The sanctuary is located across Minbu, Setoktaya, Sagu and Ngaphe townships in Magwe Region, covering an area of 213.4 square miles.
The Myanmar star tortoise is considered a critically endangered species by the IUCN because of its low population.
“We, members of the sanctuary’s administration office, have bred the star tortoise outside the natural forest because its population has gradually decreased in the wild,” one sanctuary official said. “A total of 297 star tortoises were brought to the sanctuary in 2014.”
He added: “Since 2012, we returned three baby star tortoises to the forest and fed them natural products. The breeding of the Myanmar star tortoise is difficult; however, the project produced successful outcomes, resulting in population gains every year.” The Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1985 in order to protect and conserve the endemic Shwethamin deer (Cervus eldithamin), to conserve the Than-dahat Forest, which is part of the Dry Zone Ecosystem and is the natural habitat of the Shwethamin deer, and to preserve the Buddhist heritage of the Shwesettaw area.
Fourteen species of mammals, 43 species of amphibians, 39 species of butterflies, 113 species of birds and other rare animals have been conserved within the sanctuary.
Than Naing Oo