Rare tortoises lay eggs in southern Thailand

Asian forest tortoises lay eggs at Songkhla Zoo, Songkhla province. (Photos supplied)
Asian forest tortoises lay eggs at Songkhla Zoo, Songkhla province. (Photos supplied)

SONGKHLA: Three endangered Asian forest tortoises have laid a total of 91 eggs at Songkhla Zoo in this southern province.

Wanchai Tanwattana, director of Songkhla Zoo, said Asian forest tortoise, also known as Asian brown tortoise, is the second largest tortoise species found in Thailand, and it is listed as an endangered and protected animal.

The zoo had five male Asian forest tortoises and was able to get them to mate with 10 female Asian forest tortoises, and on June 30, three of the female tortoises had laid 91 eggs, Mr Wanchai said.

He said zoo officials are keeping a close watch on the eggs, and the incubation period is about 60 days.

After they hatched, the zoo will help the young tortoises get back to their natural habitat, he added.

Asian forest tortoise is listed on CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix II, which requires countries to regulate trade of a species by issuing export permits to ensure their sustainability in the wild.