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PETROZZI, F., HEMA, E. M., SIRIMA, F., DOUAMBA, B. et al.(2017)

Habitat Determinants of the Threatened Sahel Tortoise Centrochelys sulcata At Two Spatial Scales.

Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12(2): 402–409.

The African Spurred Tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata), the second largest tortoise species in the world, is threatened with extinction because of a variety of threats, including habitat loss. Because details of habitat use for this species have not been published for wild populations of this species, we conducted this study to qualify and quantify habitat selection at two spatial scales in Burkina Faso and Niger (West Africa). Tortoises were active above-ground almost exclusively in August, during the peak of the wet season. We surveyed seven potential habitat types but the majority of adult and juvenile tortoises were observed in only two, dry river beds (locally named kori) and stabilized dunes. We used GIS (Geographical Information System) to map the known distribution of the African Spurred Tortoise in both countries in relation to the availability of kori. The habitat preference of African Spurred Tortoises widely overlaps with the occurrence of kori (and not permanent rivers or other water bodies) in the landscape. We discuss the biological and ecological reasons explaining the results, as well as the conservation consequences.

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