TORTOISE EXTINCTION IN OKITIPUPA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ONDO STATE NIGERIA
Extinction of some tortoise in my community and the entire terrestrial part of Ondo state is a concern, while growing up between 1995-2008, I could still remember seeing hunters and farmers return home with tortoise every week, most especially, during the cultivation and farming season. Tortoises are exclusively terrestrial and occur on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. They also inhabit many islands, although numerous island populations and species are now extinct because of human occupation. There are at least 15 genera of living tortoises; one genus, Geochelone, is distributed from South America to Africa and Asia. There are about 49 species of tortoises, and they range in size from the padlopers (Homopus) of southern Africa, with shell lengths of 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches), to the giant tortoises (Geochelone) of the Aldabra and Galapagos islands, with shells over 1 metre (3.3 feet) long. Tortoises live in a variety of habitats, from deserts to wet tropical forests. Most tortoises are vegetarians and eat foliage, flowers, and fruits; some tortoise species from moist forest habitats are more opportunistic and consume animal matter.
HOW DO TORTOISE REPRODUCE?
Copulation in tortoise can be a precarious issue for male tortoises, because they must balance themselves on the high-domed shell of females to fertilize them. The majority of tortoise species lay small clutches of eggs, typically fewer than 20, and many small-bodied species lay fewer than 5. Even though tortoises possess columnar hind limbs and stubby hind feet, they dig their nests with alternating scooping movements of their hind limbs, like most other turtles.
CAUSE OF EXTINCTION.
1. Indiscriminate exploitation, due to its use as a religious/spiritual animal for sacrifices.
2. Lack of sensitisation on biodiversity and animal conservation.
3. Indifference of government and local authorities to preservation of the natural environment.
4. Lack of special reserves where people are prohibited from exploiting or killing animals.
HOW TO RESTORE THE ANIMAL.
1. Create a tortoise protection vanguard, made of local community hunters and leaders.
2. Create a special forest for the revitalization of the specie, where hunting will be prohibited and the entire bush fenced.
3. Start massive community focused sensitisation on tortoise protection and conservation.