Young female Hermann’s tortoise, Testudo hermanni, from northeastern Spain.

Land Tortoises in Spain:
Their Status and Conservation


C.R.T. l’Albera, 17780 Garriguella, Girona, Spain

        ABSTRACT:  Two species of tortoises occur in Spain, the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) and Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni).  Although both species have received legal protection for over 20 years, their numbers continue to decline.  The primary population of T. graeca in southeastern Spain is threatened by illegal collection and habitat fragmentation.  A relatively stable population occurs in Doñana National Park and a reduced population is found in a small area in northwest Majorca.  The endangered western race of Hermann’s tortoise, Testudo hermanni hermanni, occurs in southeastern Majorca, some parts of Minorca, and in only one remaining locality on mainland Spain, in the northeastern corner of the country.  Populations that occurred along the Mediterranean coast until the turn of the century have been extirpated in the last 50 years.  The last indigenous population of Hermann’s tortoise in Spain is of ecological and biogeographical interest as it is the westernmost population of the species, isolated from other populations such as those in southern France.  Two Testudo h. hermanni reintroduction projects are being conducted within protected areas from which tortoises disappeared some decades ago.

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