Wildlife experts have discovered the Impressive Tortoise also known as the Manouria impress – a new species of tortoise that are elusive and have never been previously sighted in India – near Yazali of Lower Subansari district in Arunachal Pradesh More in News

  • A male and a female species of the Impressed Tortoise were discovered in June 2019. This discovery has increased the total number to 29 species of non-marine chelonians and five tortoises in the country.
  • With this, the future surveys can aim to focus near the area of occurrence and locations prioritized from interviews with locals from the area.
    • The Asian Forest Tortoise, the largest in mainland Asia, is found only in the northeast, as are 20 of the other 28 species of chelonians.
    • The male Impressed Tortoise is smaller than the female which is 30 cm in length. This Manouria species is one-third the size of the Asian Forest Tortoise
  • Previously, the little-known tortoise was believed to be restricted to western Myanmar, along with pockets of habitat in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and southern China, and south through Peninsular Malaysia.
  • The species were last found in Gwa in Myanmar, where Wildlife Conservation Society is carrying out breeding aimed to conserve the endangered tortoise for reintroduction into the wild.
  • Tortoises differ from turtles on account of being terrestrial animals. But it is common for conservationists to club the former with the latter for practical purposes.
  • The Impressed Tortoise measures one foot and has a “brilliant spine” – bent upwards and beautifully serrated
  • The latest sighting further raises the status of the country as well as the state in the list of strategic turtle conservation priority areas.
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