Spotted: Asia’s Largest Tortoise

Working deep in the rainforest, far away from the hustle and bustle of cities and urban areas, certainly has its perks! Our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team occasionally encounters animals that most people only get to see in zoos or museums. So, what special animal did our team find recently?

Orangutans are often referred to as an umbrella species, meaning that when their populations and habitats are protected, many other species that live in the same ecosystem are also protected.

The Asian giant tortoise shares her habitat with orangutans.

One species that lives in an orangutan habitat in the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kalimantan, Borneo, is the Asian giant tortoise (Manouria emys emys). This species can be found as far north as Bangladesh and India. However, the subspecies our PRM team recently encountered only lives in the primary lowland forests of southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo.

The Asian giant tortoise is the largest land tortoise in Asia, with a shell or carapace unique from that of other species. It has four strong, sturdy legs covered in rough scales, protecting it from thorns and countless sharp objects as it rummages through the undergrowth on the forest floor.

Staple foods for this tortoise are vegetation, but they are also known to occasionally prey on worms, snails, and other small animals. The Asian giant tortoise usually lays eggs twice a year, with 20 to 50 eggs per clutch (the term for one laying of eggs). It is also the only species of tortoise that lays its eggs in nests made of leaves on the ground instead of underneath it.

The Asian giant tortoise has been declared as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN. Therefore, its wild populations are in dire need of protection. So, let’s save this beautiful species!

How Can You Help

There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.

Adopt an Orangutan

Adopt an Orangutan

Orangutans are endangered and at risk of extinction. Habitat destruction results in hundreds of orphaned orangutans, who rely on our care every year. You can help by adopting one. Their dedicated ‘nannies’ teach them everything they need to know for when it’s time to release them back to the wild. You can follow their progress through Forest School.

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Make a Donation

Make a Donation

Please help the Orangutans in their struggle for survival. Your donation is important and goes directly to BOS Indonesia. By donating, you are helping bring this noble yet endangered species back from the brink of extinction and on a path to freedom - from rescue to rehabilitation and release.

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Visit Our Shop

Visit Our Shop

The perfect gift for any occasion! Choose from our selection of instant gifts that directly support our orangutans. You can buy a wheelbarrow, provide food for an orangutan for two months or lots more. You will receive a certificate, personalised with the name of your choice - perfect gift for you or a friend.

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