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Bush fires

Ausgebrannter Schildkrötenpanzer in der Toskana.

Every summer they come back, the devastating forest, bush and wildfires. Year after year  in the turtle areas in the Mediterranean area not only destroyed countless turtles but entire local populations.

According to the turtle village in Gonfaron, 2000 Greek tortoises of the western subspecies Testudo hermanni hermanni were burned in the southern French massif of the Moors in July 2003. 

The pictures below were taken after a bush fire in early 2003  recorded in central Italy. Hundreds of Greek tortoises were burned here as well without being reported in the media.

The wildfires in the entire Mediterranean area reached a previously unknown extent in the summer months of 2007. According to the authorities, 269,000 hectares of forest and scrubland were destroyed in the worst fires in living memory, particularly in Greece and the Peloponnese. In Italy, according to newspaper reports, there were more than 5700 wildfires in 2007, 50 percent more than in the previous year.

This shows once again that the survival of the small European tortoises often hangs by less than a thread.





Turtle habitats destroyed by bush fires  with burnt-out turtle shells.

Turtle habitat two years after a bush fire. The grass growth recovers relatively quickly. The macchia, the actual shelter for the turtles and protection from the scorching sun, grows back very slowly.

Verbranntes Habitat
Verbranntes Habitat
Verbranntes Habitat

Sardinia in September 2003. Thousands of tortoises are sure to have fallen victim to the fire here too.

Thb mit einer extremen Brandverletzung in Albanien.
Thh au Sardinien mit Brandverletzung.
Ausgebrannt Marginata auf Sardinien.

The left picture shows a thh with fresh burn wounds. The burn injuries to the turtle in the middle were a long time ago. To the right  a burned-out semi-adult wide-brimmed turtle.

Even the owners of these two cars did not manage to get their vehicles to safety on time. Please note the absolute no-stopping rule.

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