World Conservation Day 2022: Return of the Burmese Star

On this World Wildlife Conservation Day we celebrate the story of the stunningly beautiful Burmese Star Tortoise in Myanmar, one of the world’s great conservation success stories.

Each December 4th, Turtle Survival Alliance strives to highlight the importance of observing World Wildlife Conservation Day, for turtles and all animals. Founded in 2012, this day seeks to spread awareness about preserving and protecting the natural world and its inhabitants.

In Myanmar, in the late 1990s, the Burmese Star Tortoise was on the brink of extinction. Avidly sought for the wildlife trade, and with relentless removal from the wild, within a decade this tortoise species had almost completely disappeared from its native habitat. By the mid-2000s, it was considered functionally extinct in the wild.

Working to protect the few remaining wild tortoises in captivity, Turtle Survival Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Myanmar Forest Department partnered to save them. And, in 2013, after success with breeding them in captivity, we released the first captive-bred Burmese Star Tortoises into the wild. Today, more than 20,000 tortoises have hatched and nearly 5,000 have been released back into their native habitat. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of all partners, these animals are now thriving and reproducing in the wild.
Despite ongoing civil and political unrest in Myanmar, we continue this important work. This year we have released 1,000 Burmese Star Tortoises at Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary and hatched more than 2,500 between breeding programs at Lawkanandar, Minzontaung, and Shwesettaw wildlife sanctuaries.

Today, we hope you join us in celebrating the efforts like these that conservationists make daily across the globe to protect wildlife from the myriad threats they face—and the positive outcomes that can be achieved through our collective impact.

You can help celebrate World Wildlife Conservation Day by sharing this post and spreading the word about our impact on turtle survival around the world.

And you can help us realize our vision of a planet where ALL turtles thrive in the wild by visiting our website to join the cause today!

Video: Jordan Gray
Video clips courtesy of Turtle Survival Alliance and Wildlife Conservation Society