Slow and steady wins the race, but when it comes to saving endangered animals, there’s no slowing down. At the Tortoise Shell-ter, you’ll get up close with at least seven species of tortoises, many of which may be extinct in 10 years’ time if nothing is done to conserve them. The Shell-ter provides them with world-class care, a sanctuary to display their natural behaviours and ideal breeding grounds to ensure the survival of their species. These shellebrities roam around their specially-designed enclosures, safe from the cruel threats of the outside world.
These tortoises are known to “dance in the rain” – picture them shaking water off their bodies! Named after the brilliant yellow lines radiating from each plate of its shell, it is among the world’s most attractive tortoise species. Unfortunately, its rare beauty is threatening its survival. The radiated tortoise is so highly prized that global illegal pet trade will continue and the tortoise may become extinct in the wild in two decades.
Male ploughshare tortoises are no slowpokes in courtship –they fight for their mates by flipping their opponents over with their `plough’ (a plough-shaped scute at the front of its lower shell).
The ploughshare tortoise is listed as one of the 25 most endangered tortoises and turtles in the world. Prized for its high-dome shell, it has been overharvested for the illegal pet trade. There are only about 200 adult ploughshare tortoises left in Madagascar. Conservationists fighting to save the ploughshare tortoise have resorted to a drastic measure – they deface the shell to reduce its black market value.
Burmese star tortoise
Like the ploughshare tortoise, the Burmese star tortoise has made it to the list of the top 25 most endangered tortoises and turtles in the world. Beautiful and rare, the Burmese star tortoise commands a high price in the illegal pet trade, fueling unsustainable collection from the wild. The three females that we have in our collection were confiscations by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). For them, Tortoise Shell-ter is now home, where they are well taken care of.
Indian Star tortoise
The star-patterned shells of the Indian star tortoise may be eye catching but they actually keep the animal well camouflaged in dry scrub forests where it lives. The Indian star tortoise is the most confiscated tortoise species in Singapore. We receive large numbers of confiscated tortoises smuggled from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, many do not survive the trauma of the journey. The lucky survivors now live in the Tortoise Shell-ter.
Found in Asia, the elongated tortoise can be easily identified by its long and narrow shell, hence its name. Some call it the pineapple tortoise because the yellow markings on its shell resemble the pattern of the fruit. Our herpetology team has successfully bred this endangered species and we are keeping an assurance colony to ensure the survival of the species, even if a catastrophic event wipes out the wild population.