Egyptian tortoise conservation: A community-based, field research program developed from a study on a captive population
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2007
© 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Volume 26, Issue 5, pages 397–406, September/October 2007
How to Cite
Attum, O., Baha El Din, M., Baha El Din, S. and Habinan, S. (2007), Egyptian tortoise conservation: A community-based, field research program developed from a study on a captive population. Zoo Biol., 26: 397–406. doi: 10.1002/zoo.20157
- Issue published online: 3 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 26 FEB 2007
- Manuscript Received: 17 MAR 2006
- captive animals;
- ex situ and in situ conservation;
- local communities;
- Testudo kleinmanni
Local community participation and ex situ conservation has the potential to assist the recovery of the endangered Egyptian tortoise, Testudo kleinmanni. We initiated an in situ community-based conservation and research program from a captive population of T. kleinmanni. We used a captive population of the Egyptian tortoise to train a member of the local community as a research technician and used his indigenous tracking skills and knowledge of the area to collect activity and dietary data on 28 captive tortoises. We overcame problems with illiteracy by creating a data sheet based on symbols and numbers. This data sheet allowed us to use the indigenous knowledge of various people from the community, and employ them in the future. Our local community approach to data collection, in conjunction with a craft program, made the conservation of the Egyptian tortoise more rewarding to the local community by providing a more sustainable form of income than collecting animals for the pet trade. Our multidimensional approach (local community participation as research technicians, craft program, and trust building) for gaining local support eventually led to the rediscovery of wild Egyptian tortoises in North Sinai, which was significant, as this species was presumed extinct in Egypt. We have now shifted our focus to in situ conservation, using the research and local capacity building template developed from this captive population study. Our template can be used by zoos and conservation organizations with small budgets and collections of native species in natural habitats to create similar captive research programs that can be applied to in situ conservation. Zoo Biol 26:397–406, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.