The Nubian flapshell turtle

"The Great Unknown African Turtle"


The Nubian flapshell turtle

Africa’s rarest turtle is an enigma. The last known individual in captivity died in 2009 in the US, and no turtles had been spotted in the wild for the last 25 years. 

The C. elegans can reach a shell length of up to 70cm (27.5

inches), which makes it the largest species by far in the genus of flapshell turtles.

Based on current data (Diagne T.2010, Luiselli L. 2011), the Nubian flapshell turtle is in greatdanger of becoming extinct soon.

TURTLE ISLAND has made it one of its primary goals to help prevent the extinction of this

magnificent species.

How big is the threat?

The IUCN has classified the Nubian flapshell turtle as  Critically Endangered during the IUCN Red List workshop in Togo in 2013.

The turtles of Africa are the least researched and the least known turtle species on our planet and are increasingly under pressure from habitat destruction and hunting for bushmeat. It hardly helps that the Nubian flapshell turtle lives in the least accessible and politically most volatile areas of Africa. These areas are highly endangered hotspots of biodiversity.

Professor Luca Luiselli and his team found a turtle early this year in southern Sudan and located a small group in the White Nile River.

Our Contribution

TURTLE ISLAND’S highest priority is to create an ex-situ breeding group, locate the last Nubian flapshell turtles, and protect their habitats.

f there are large gaps in our knowledge about the taxonomy and distribution of C. elegans,  we know even less about the biology and ecology of this species. Population composition, diet and reproductive behaviour have not been studied at all and are not described in scientific literature.

"In order to carry on this great work, we need your help.."

Mag. Dr. Peter Praschag

Founder of Turtle Island

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