Female ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) in Baly Bay National Park. By Miguel Pedrono

Wasted efforts: why captivity is not the best way to conserve species

Miguel Pedrono


Conservation strategies of Malagasy turtles and tortoises are based principally on the captive-breeding of these species, with the ultimate aim of their possible reintroduction in the wild. Given the current precarious conservation status of endemic Malagasy turtle and tortoise species, it is clear that approach has been a failure. Instead of being used to complement in situ approaches, for a number of years captive-breeding efforts have been used as an alternative. It is essential to develop conservation strategies for these species based on empirical data, and not only on the subjective vision of NGOs with a strong interest in ex situ conservation approaches. It is only by fighting the causes of decline of Malagasy chelonian species in the wild that they will be able to be saved.



Les stratégies de conservation des tortues malgaches reposent principalement sur l’élevage en captivité de ces espèces, en vue de leur possible réintroduction dans la nature. Force est de constater que cette approche a conduit à un échec, au regard du statut actuel, particulièrement précaire, des tortues endémiques malgaches. Au lieu d’appuyer les efforts de conservation in situ comme il se doit, l’élevage en captivité s’est substitué à eux, et ce depuis de nombreuses années. Il est désormais essentiel d’élaborer les stratégies de conservation de ces espèces sur la base de données empiriques, et non plus sur la seule vision subjective d’ONGs présentant un fort intérêt pour l’approche ex situ. C’est seulement en combattant les causes du déclin des tortues malgaches qu’il sera possible d’assurer leur survie.


Chelonians, captive-breeding, conservation strategies, conservation effectiveness, Madagascar.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/mcd.v6i2.3

Madag. conserv. dev.
ISSN: 1662-2510