Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise

Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise

The spur-thighed tortoise is considered vulnerable to extinction. However, this assessment is some years out of date and the status of the distinctive Tunisian sub-species Testudo graeca nabeulensis has yet to be evaluated. Occupying semi-arid scrub and Mediterranean woodland, the species is highly sought after by the illegal pet trade and is likely to be restricted in range because of availability of suitable habitat.

In Tunisia, we have created a rehabilitation centre for spur-thighed tortoises in the Boukornine National Park to receive and repatriate animals confiscated from illegal traders. The process includes studies on tortoise health and monitoring of released animals to determine success of reintroductions. We are simultaneously carrying out surveys across the country to determine the natural distribution and population status of spur-thighed tortoises, and to identify other suitable sites for releasing individuals from the rehabilitation centre.