Pearly Beach Tortoise Project

The Pearly Beach Conservancy has started a few new projects this year to improve nature awareness and to get people actively involved in our urban conservancy. Two of these projects are an Oystercatcher bird count and an Otter watch. The Conservancy has also raised awareness of tortoises by erecting signage provided by the municipality throughout the village, but much more assistance from the public is needed to increase awareness of tortoises.

The Conservancy is very keen to start with a new project, namely a tortoise study in order to monitor tortoise movement and territory by numbering 100 tortoises found inside the Pearly Beach Village, and then to record the date, location, age and sex of each animal. The angulate tortoise, bowsprit tortoise or rooipens, is a species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forest in South Africa. This tortoise in the only known member of the genus Chersina. Each time a numbered animal is seen, the date and location will be reported without again disturbing the animal and an individual’s movement pattern can be logged.

The initial numbering shall be done with a nontoxic paint (type used in the Abalone farms) on the uppermost scute in small print. A photograph will be taken and handling shall be kept to a minimum (approx. 2 minutes). This shall only be done by trained people and only during the wetter season of winter (never in summer, because if disturbed during the dry period, the animal releases its water reserves as a defense mechanism, water which re- hydrates the animal during dry spells.). The initial numbering will only take a month given the many tortoises in Pearly Beach.

The objective of this project is to provide an interesting study with results, raise nature awareness and protect the local tortoises, as sometimes they are illegally collected, sold or eaten. Remember that the collection of any wild animal is illegal. Hopefully this is less likely to happen if the animal is identifiable.

Before this project can get off the ground, we would very much like to receive some support of the idea and any suggestions or proposals are also welcome. These can be e-mailed to