SLOWLY MARCHING ON: Almerian tortoise population remains ‘stable’

STABLE: Tortoise populations in Almeria remain steady ©Shutterstock

COMMON tortoise populations in the Sierras de Cabrera and Almagro continue to remain steady according to the University of Elche’s Society for the Study and Recover of Biodiversity Almeriense (Serbal).

A group of volunteers from Serbal spent three days locating the populations of the endangered tortoises, also known as spur thighed tortoises, in the two mountain ranges aiming to identify both the current numbers of tortoises remaining while also pinpointing the main threats to the species.

They reportedly found 10 tortoises in Sierra de Almagro while 15 were found in Cabrera, with the volunteers

Serbal’s Emilio Gonzalez told local media that the populations currently remain stable.

He told local Spanish media: “We have focused on these two places for their particular characteristics.

“In the Turre mountain range, for example, there was a fire in 2009 and in 2015 there was a significant release of specimens that came from captivity.”

“These results are in line with those of the last four years, so we think that these two populations remain stable.”

Currently, the only autochthonous spur thighed tortoise populations in Spain can be found in Almeria and Murcia

The species is currently under threat, being catalogued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the National Catalogue of Endangered species as ‘vulnerable’, while the species is currently ‘endangered of extinction’ in Andalucia.

The main problem that the species currently face is the destruction of their habitat for agricultural operations and new infrastructures meaning that some populations can no longer come into contact with others; causing a long-term breeding problem.