Taxonomy

Animalia Chordata Vertebrata Reptilia Testudines Testudinidae Kinixys Kinixys belliana
Taxonomic notes: Th subspecies Kinixys b. belliana Gray, 1831, K.b.nogueyi (Lataste, 1886) and K.b.zombensis Hewitt, 1931 have been proposed, although the latter is not universally accepted (Iverson 1992, Boycott & Bourquin 2000). It is unclear whether K. b. nogueyi, which is sympatric with the nominate subspecies in Cameroon and the Central African Republic, should be retained as a subspecies or whether it warrants specific status (Trape et al. 2012).

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Geographic Range

In West Africa this tortoise occurs throughout the savannah region from western Senegal to the Central African Republic (Trape et al. 2012). Elsewhere it occurs in most of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Sudan along the Nile, ranging from Eritrea in the north to South Africa in the south, east to northern Somalia and west to South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola (Iverson 1992). Records from Madagascar may represent a prehistortic introduction (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2011). It ranges from sea level to almost 2,000 m asl. (Spawls et al. 2002).

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Habitat

This savannah tortoise is found in both dry and moist savannah zones (Spawls et al. 2002, Trape et al. 2012), and also coastal thicket (Spawls et al. 2002). It is very widespread in semi-arid habitats, but is not usually found in very dry savannah or semi-desert (Spawls et al. 2002). It is largely inactive during the dry season, which it spends buried (Trape et al. 2012). It feeds on plants, including fruit, and also on fungi and invertebrates (Trape et al. 2012). Clutches of 2-7 eggs have been recorded in South Africa (Spawls et al. 2002).

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Population

This is a locally abundant species in savannah (Trape et al. 2012). The population trend is unknown.

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Use Trade

This species can be found in the international pet trade, in almost all cases as wild-caught specimens.

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Threats

Fire, international trade and collection for local consumption may represent threats to this species. It is not thought to be under threat from habitat destruction due to its wide occurrence in semi-arid habitats (Spawls et al. 2002)..

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Specific Threats

  • 7.1.3 Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
  • 5.1.1 Intentional use (species is the target)

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Conservation Actions

It is listed on CITES Appendix II and international trade of this species should be monitored. It is known to occur in many protected areas including all West African savannah national parks.

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Specific Actions

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    Red List Rationale

    This species is listed as Least Concern due to its wide distribution. Nevertheless, international trade of this species should be monitored.

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    Bibliography

    • Iverson, J.B. 1992. A Revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World. Richmond, Indiana. (Privately published).
    • Spawls, S., Howell, K.M., Drewes, R.C. and Ashe, J. 2002. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, Elsevier Science.
    • Trape, J.-F., Trape, S. and Chirio, L. 2012. Lézards, crocodiles et tortues d'Afrique occidentale et du Sahara. IRD Editions, Marseille.
    • Turtle Taxonomy Working Group. 2011. Turtles of the World, 2011 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P. Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B. and Mittermeier, R.A. (eds), Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A compilation project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.

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