Dead angulates in the Western Cape (Stilbaai region)

TheLastGreen

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I've found 2 dead angulates, one smaller tort, shell bleached and scutes were peeled, still blood inside. I'm scared human activity is killing them. Both where found beside the road. The smaller one seemed to be trapped by dense cut grass IMG 20220102 WA0003 20220105 165149 20220105 171012 20220105 171022
What can I do? Am I being paranoid?
These torts don't walk over the road, it would mean certain death from predators. The only way I can survey them is by entering the field... where I'll see cobras. Any advice?
 

TeamZissou

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Crows are a big predator of young angulates. There was an article in The Tortoise magazine a while back where they found a pile of something like 400 shells under a crow's nest. The situation was improved when the farmer got rid of the nest. The crows were somewhat invasive to that region I believe.
 

TheLastGreen

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I'm scared human activity is killing them. Both where found beside the road. The smaller one seemed to be trapped by dense cut grass
The two main questions remain. Thanks @TeamZissou I'll look out for crows.
I wonder if my question is too broad?
I was wondering:
1.How do you know when the native population is declining?
2.Is there anything I can do to help the native population? (Like adding shallow ponds to catch rainwater etc.)
 

TammyJ

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This is a pity. I am not an expert at all, but have a few questions.
What do you think killed them?
If there is "still blood inside", what does this mean in terms of when they were killed?
Did you take pics of the plastron side?
 

TeamZissou

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It's possible that you might be seeing the natural order of things rather than explicit human effects. Keep in mind that only 1-2% of turtles and tortoises make it to adulthood, and even then they could still get killed by a predator. As a species, Chersina angulata is doing great, they are prolific breeders in the wild and are classified as 'least concern.'

That said, a lot of them probably get killed by cars and other human related activity. There was another article in The Tortoise where a farmer had a super long concrete irrigation trench (like 20 miles) in which they would find lots of dead Angulata, padloper, and even some geometrics since the tortoises would just fall in and be unable to get out. The did a huge years long project to build higher sides on the trench, and that has kept a lot of tortoises from being killed.

You could get involved in projects like that, and/or volunteer with the Turtle Conservancy in SA.
 

TheLastGreen

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This is a pity. I am not an expert at all, but have a few questions.
What do you think killed them?
If there is "still blood inside", what does this mean in terms of when they were killed?
Did you take pics of the plastron side?
I thought it could have gotten stuck in the grass after the tractor cleared the area, but I went back after your comment and realised the plastron was clean off, and nowhere near the tort, couldn't find it, so it was definetly a predator that killed him.
I think it could have been about a month or two ago? The scutes have been bleached off, and it had already peeled off, so it must've been there a while, but then the blood throws the thing around, and makes it seem more recent
Here's an image of the inside of the carapace 20220107 195204
The circle is where it was found, the line indicates the grass path, which was cut by the tractor 20220107 195301
 
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