Daw Htat Htat Win of the Ayeyarwady Trading Co. told the Flower News that the company has been officially permitted to captive breed and export Myanmar Star Tortoises which are listed as rare species.
Daw Htat Htat Win said that the tortoise was priced at over $1000 previously. However, the current market price in Japan is $400/500 USD per turtle. Buyer will check the quality of the tortoise, such as its coloration and look for indications of defects before buying the animal as a pet.
The Ayeyarwady Trading Co. established a star tortoise captive breeding center in Nyaung Oo Township because the tortoise inhabits dry forest in the region. The tortoise breeds once a year. Based on an agreement with the Forest Department, 20% of the offspring are maintained at the center as breeding stock, 30% are released into the wild, and 50% are exported in accordance with CITES.
The Myanmar Star Tortoise are listed in CITES Appendix II. Illegal trading is taking place on one hand and captive breeding is being carried out on the other.
The Company established a breeding center in 2001 and reared 51 males and 75 females with Japanese technical assistance. In 2001, there were 12 offspring. In the following years there were 40, 271 and 405 hatchlings respectively. Among the hatchling 20 and 30 were exported in 2003 and 2004.
Rare species such as star tortoises have been exported by some neighboring countries including Thailand, Malaysia and India and they are bought just for pets.
Some rare species including star tortoises are nearly extinct because of illegal trading, poaching, habitat lost and forest fire.