Naijatreks has announced its discovery of a rare turtle species- not in some far-off exotic location, but in the southwest Nigeria.
Discovered in well hidden granite gnammas (rock pools) on some inselbergs dotting the northern outskirts of Akure in Ondo State, this species of turtle is believed to belong at least to a unique sub-species of the West-African Side-Necked turtle which are found in lakes, rivers and marshes of West Africa from Senegal and Nigeria to the Congo and Zaire (www.theturtlesource.com).
Some foreign observers (Diamond Back Terrapin specialists) suspect that the turtles may even belong to a new species of terrapins.
In may 2003, when we first found the turtles while exploring some hidden talus caves in the outskirts of Akure, Ondo State capital, we made efforts to inform the State government of the existence of the reptiles in the vicinity as well as the increasing danger they were facing due to the harshness of their habitat and the increasing human encroachment near their habitat, but unfortunately our letters and newspaper publications received no response.
Within the past eight years since their discovery, Naijatreks have carefully studied the turtles both in captivity and in their natural habitat in order to understand their behaviors and mode of adaptation; and this have led to a number of interesting discoveries about this wonderful species.
Nevertheless, there still remains quite a number of their adaptations yet to be unravelled, such as their aestivation/brumation behaviours in the dry season during which their rock pools get completely dried up leaving only hardened sediments at its base.
The Akure landscape is a picturesque one and is typically an inselberg landscape especially around its northern outskirts.
We shall from time to time update you of the various adaptation behaviours of the newly discovered turtles, information about the state of their habitat which is presently highly endangered, as well as the various actions/activities undertaken by Naijatreks in ensuring the quick rescue and effective conservation of this wonderful species of natural wonder.
- Satellite imagery of Akure showing the granite inselbergs on which the turtles are found.Tweet