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Open Access Short term monitoring reveals the rapid decline of southern Madagascar's Critically Endangered tortoise species

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Southern Madagascar supports two of the world's most threatened chelonians, Pyxis arachnoides and Astrochelys radiata, both thought to be rapidly declining as a result of habitat loss and poaching; however, to date quantitative data on this decline is lacking. We applied a conventional distance sampling procedure, monitoring populations twice over a 24-month period across the species' respective distributions. Population density for P. arachnoides dropped from 2.4 tortoises/ha (95% CI; 1.6–3.4) to 1.5/ha (95% CI; 0.8–2.8). Astrochelys radiata dropped from 2.1 tortoises/ha (95% CI 1.2–3.5) to 1.5/h. (95% CI 0.7–3.3). Local community-based conservation initiatives need to be expanded to combat this decline.

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Keywords: ASTROCHELYS RADIATA; CONSERVATION; DISTANCE SAMPLING; PYXIS ARACHNOIDES

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 01 July 2014

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