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The true Status and Future of Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni robertmertensi WERMUTH 1952 in Western Europe

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Hermann's tortoise of western Europe, Testudo hermanni robertmertensi WERMUTH 1952, is in fact seriously endangered throughout its range of distribution. In Spain, one comes across only a few in Minorca and Majorca (Balearic Is.) and in an area confined to the north of the province of Gerona. In France, it occurs in the Maures and Estérel mountains (Var), the Albères (Pyrénées-orientales) and Corsica. The importance of the Italian populations is less understood. On the mainland, it is mainly on the west coast and in the south. It also occurs on the islands of Sicily, Sardiniaand Elba. In all these areas, Hermann's tortoise is in strong decline on account of forest fires, increased urbanisation of the coastal areas and commercial and individual collecting. Proper safeguards are extemely limited and will not allow populations of this tortoise to be maintained. Prompt action to safeguard the species is required. One of the most effective means qould be to increase breeding in populations reduced by fire. The formation of nature reserves is also desirable to protect the small isolated populations of the Albères, Maurea, Minorca and Mallorca.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire de Biogéographie et Ecologie des Vertébrés, E.PH.E., Université des Sciences etTechniques du Languedoc, Place E. Bataillon, 34060 Montpellier, France


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