The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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pdf 06. Interviews on the status of West African forest tortoises (genus Kinixys), including preliminary data on the effect of snail gatherers on their trade


Open Access

pp. 171-177

Authors: Luca Luiselli, Daniele Dendi, Nic Pacini, Nioking Amadi, Godfrey C. Akani, Edem A.
Eniang & Gabriel Hoinsoudé Ségniagbeto

Abstract: The forest hingeback tortoises Kinixys homeana and Kinixys erosa are two of the most declining African chelonians. Although the population size trends of these species have received attention in some specific areas of West Africa, an overall perception of their declining trajectories are still largely unexplored. We used interviews with rural people (hunters, farmers and snail gatherers) in order to explore the general perception that these experienced people have on the population trends of these threatened tortoises. Overall, we interviewed over 2000 people in three West African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Nigeria), which mostly supported the notion that these tortoises are heavily declining in Togo and Nigeria, but less so in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, many respondents suggested that snail gatherers are the main providers of tortoises to the bushmeat trade. Indeed, our market surveys revealed that, in Nigeria, there was a significantly positive correlation between number of wild snails traded by individual sellers and numbers of sold tortoises in their ‘shops’.

Key words: Chelonians, Kinixys erosa, Kinixys homeana, interviews, snail trade, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria

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