Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 7th, 2009
The Arakan forest turtle (Heosemys depressa), once though to be extinct, has been rediscovered in a remote forest in Myanmar, boosting chances of the possible recovery of the reptile, researchers announced on September 7, 2009.
The local name for the turtle, “Pyant Cheezar,” translates into the “turtle that eats rhinoceros feces.” Sumatran rhinos were once found in the area, but vanished half a century ago due to hunting. Perhaps they are adapting to a diet of elephant droppings?
Texas researcher Steven Platt and staff from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society discovered five of the brown-and-tan-spotted turtles in May 2009, during a wildlife survey in the Rakhine Yoma Elephant Sanctuary.
Native to the Arakan hills of western Myanmar, the Arakan Forest Turtle was believed extinct (last seen in 1908), but in 1994 was rediscovered when a few specimens turned up in Asian food markets.
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