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Implications for conservation of collection of Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise as pets in Morocco: Residents’ perceptions, habits, and knowledge

AuthorsSegura, Amalia; Delibes-Mateos, Miguel ; Acevedo, Pelayo
KeywordsPet trade
Questionnaire survey
Social perception
Testudo graeca
Likert scale
Issue Date2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationAnimals 10(2): 265 (2020)
AbstractThe trading and collection of wild animals as pets may be cause for concern regarding animal welfare and species conservation. These concerns can be exemplified by Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca), a long-living species whose use as pets is long established. The human dimension plays a major role in the wildlife for the pet collection, and is particularly important in countries like Morocco, where this might pose a threat to the conservation of the species involved. This study, which is based on a questionnaire survey (n = 480 participants), documents the fact that many people in Morocco keep tortoises as pets: 55% of the participants in the survey and over two tortoises/person. Importantly, most captive tortoises, particularly juveniles, had been collected directly from wild populations by their owners (42%, n = 264). In general, the tortoise owners had limited knowledge of their tortoises’ habits and requirements, although rural people were more likely to acknowledge that the tortoise is a wild and threatened species. Our study reveals that non-commercial collection is a common activity in Morocco that may threaten wild tortoise populations and hence species conservation, and it could have consequences regarding the welfare of the animals. We were also able to identify the profile of people towards whom education campaigns should be directed in order to reduce the number of tortoises collected from wild populations. Additional field research should also be conducted to quantify the impact of pet collection on wild tortoise populations.
DescriptionThis article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020265
Appears in Collections:(IESA) Artículos
(IREC) Artículos
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