Endemic to the dry southern forests of Madagascar, the radiated tortoise has an incredibly long lifespan—the oldest tortoise on record reached an estimated 188 years of age. They boast highly intricate, dome-shaped shells lined with blood vessels, making them sensitive to the touch. Due to hunting and the illegal pet trade, the species has seen a 50 percent decrease in their population over the past decade. It is estimated that a staggering quarter of a million radiated tortoises are harvested each year. Because of these constant threats, conservationists have estimated that these tortoises could go extinct in less than 20 years.
This story is a part of our Planet Earth series. From mammals to insects and birds to reptiles, we share this great big world with all manner of creatures, large and small. Come with us to faraway places as we explore our great big planet and meet some of its wildest inhabitants.
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