Arakan Forest Turtle
Facts about Arakan forest turtle. "Sientific name for Arakan forest turtle is Heosemys depressa".
The Arakan forest turtle species is an extremely rare extant type of turtle which can only be found in the Arakan hills of western Myanmar. The Arakan forest turtle is a semi-terrestrial species which can survive in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats although the adults prefer the terrestrial habitats.
The Arakan forest turtle was previously believed to be extinct since the year 1908. However, in the year 1994, the species was rediscovered after a few varieties were recognized in the Asian food markets. Just like other species of turtles, the Arakan forest turtle was collected annually as for medical care or as food source. Recently, only a few of the conservation-reliant Arakan turtle species can be found in captivity with most of its population in the wild.
The Arakan forest turtle can develop to lengths of approximately, 11 inches in length (28 cm), 7 to 10 pounds (3.7 to 4.5 kg), and eighteen plastral annuli. Peter Paul van Dijk, the director of freshwater turtle and tortoise program for Conservation International observed the difficulties which are involved with the establishment of the tortoise species in captivity. Recently, only approximately fourteen Arakan forest turtles have housed in Association of Zoos and Aquariums in the United States including Zoo Atlanta, the Miami Metro Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo, River Banks Zoo and Garden in Knoxville Zoo and Columbia, South Carolina.
In the year 2007, the Zoo Atlanta, which is the only breeding facility for the Arakan forest turtle announced the successful hatching of the fourth hatchling which was born after a period of six months although some of the hatchlings had not survived. Generally, the Arakan forest turtle’s eggs takes a period of one hundred days in order to hatch after mating only once annually.
The Arakan forest turtle are nocturnal and usually remain dormant most of the time through hiding in debris and leaves except when it is foraging for food. The Arakan forest turtle is an omnivore which can feed on both plants and animals. The Arakan forest turtle is a relatively reserved animal especially during its daily activities. However, the turtle can sometimes become aggressive when it seeks to feed on worms, fish and insects. The Arakan forest turtle can also be able to feed on fruits which fall to the forest floor. The turtle has its activities increasing during the early wet seasons.
Despite the minimum population numbers of the Arakan forest turtle species, it is still traded by the western Myanmar animal pet dealers from China.
In the year 2003, various researchers took samples for research from nine different turtle species which were imported to the Czech Republic and were to be bred in a private turtle collection. In the year 2009, some researchers discovered a few wild Arakan forest turtles in an elephant sanctuary in Myanmar. The elephant sanctuary lacks human settlement and is difficult to access which prevents human interference with the turtle.
Since there is no large-scale commercial project which hunts the turtle due to the fact that the turtle is hard to locate in their habitats, the can be less extinct.