The visually striking Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) is best known for the radiating star pattern on its shell (carapace).
Its diet consists of wide range of grasses, as well as mushrooms and fruit. This beautiful and critically endangered chelonian was once abundant in central Myanmar, but is now considered “functionally extinct” in the wild, meaning no breeding populations remain.
Luckily, this species does very well in captive breeding environments. The TSA and the Wildlife Conservation Society have been working together since 2009 to ensure that this species isn’t lost forever. By setting up assurance colonies, tortoises are able to be carefully managed and protected. At this point, there are several thousand animals in assurance colonies and the numbers continue to grow. This is excellent news for this species! With this many individuals, a successful plan to reintroduce animals to the wild is a real possibility.