Photo of the Month: Madagascar Radiated Tortoise

Madagascar Radiated Tortoise; PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pham

The Madagascar radiated tortoise is a critically endangered reptile native to the spiny forests of southern and southwestern Madagascar. It has disappeared entirely from 40% of its historical range, and the remaining populations have shrunk severely by recent and ongoing exploitation, mostly for consumption and the exotic pet trade.

Although radiated tortoises are native to only Madagascar, they have been introduced to several neighboring islands in the Indian Ocean in an effort to boost their populations. Additionally, captive breeding programs are crucial to the survival of this species. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens has been successful in hatching these rare tortoises, which can be seen on exhibit in multiple locations: in the LAIR with the Madagascar spider tortoises and with the giant one-horned chameleon and in the upper Africa roundhouse shared by the ring-tail lemurs.