Asian Giant Tortoise

Asian Brown Tortoise

လိပ်မောင်း၊ ခြေခြောက်ချောင်းလိပ်၊ ပိန်းပေါင်းလိပ်

Manouria emys






Extinction risk

National IUCN statusEN
Global IUCN statusCR


Head to body length

Body weight (kg)


Manouria emys is in severe decline, as a result of loss and degradation of suitable lowland and mid-elevation evergreen forest, and long-term subsistence collection and intensive commercial exploitation for East Asian consumption trade in recent years. Overall, the species has declined by at least 80% in the past 3 generations. This decline is expected to continue as turtle exploitation remains beyond effective control, subsistence collection and poaching occurs widely even, and forest loss continues.


Wild population



Myanmar population


Global population


This species is rare, and declining. It is suspected to have undergone a reduction in population size of more than 80% across its global range over the last 135 years (3 generations), which will continue for at least another generation due to exploitation pressures and reduced area of occupancy. The rate of reduction in Myanmar during this period is likely to be similar, or even higher. The population in the western part of the country (Rakhine State) is likely to have been extirpated in the early 2000’s (K. Platt, pers. comm. 2018). AOO of the species is 384 km2 and its EOO covers 168417.499 km2 in its habitats.

Habitat ecology

Exclusively inhabits evergreen forest and bamboo forest, from lowland regions up to altitudes of about 1,000m (typically 600-1,500m). Typically found near water and frequently burrow in damp soil (Nutphand 1979). Diet includes bamboo shoots, tubers and other juicy vegetation (Nutaphand 1979) and some invertebrates and frogs (Humphrey and Bain 1990). M. e. phayrei reaches 60 cm carapace length and 37 kg (Nutphand 1979). Size and age at maturity have apparently not been reported. The interactive behaviour of this species is quite complex, with elaborate dominance and courtship rituals. In captivity, a nest is constructed by the female by sweeping leaf litter backwards to form a nest mound. In this mound, a clutch of on average 35 (range 15-51, N=24) spherical or slightly elongate eggs (41-54 mm diameter, weight 46-80 g) are laid, with larger females typically producing more eggs. The nest is defended against potential predators by the female during the first few days. In captivity, M. e. phayrei reaches sexuality maturity at about 15 years (Fahz 2010). Longevity of this subspecies has been recorded up to 20 years, but it is likely to be much longer (Slavens and Slavens 2000). Generation length is estimated at about 45 years (three times age of maturity).

Threats to survival

Threats to survival

Harvesting for local consumption and international food trade. Also threatened by habitat loss resulting from logging, and conversion of forest to agricultural land. They require good quality evergreen forest.

Instruction: The visualization shows threats that are impacting each species. According to IUCN, direct threats are the proximate human activities or processes that have impacted, are impacting, or may impact the the status of the taxon being assessed. Click of the highlighted icons to see details each threat category.

Use and trade

As a large tortoise species (the largest in Asia), this species is targeted for food – both local consumption and international trade (primarily with China). It is also collected for the pet trade.

Conservation Actions


Research undertaken

It is listed in CITES Appendix II and completely protected by Conservation of Biodiversity and Protected Area Law (2018). Two assurance colonies have been established, with breeding success. A pilot release and radio-tracking program has started (6 tortoises), and will be scaled-up if successful.

Research needed

Research needed to better understand the population status, and life-history.

Assessed by

Kalyar Platt,Me Me Soe,Htun Thu,Kyaw Thu Zaw Wint,Swann Htet Naing Aung,Ko Myint,Kyi Soe Lwin

Reviewed by

James Tallant,Monica Böhm



National Redlist of Threatened Species in Myanmar

The Myanmar National Red List of threatened species contributes to the GEF funded “Strengthening Sustainability of Protected Area Management in Myanmar” project. To support the National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (2015-2020), Target 12 for commitment to prevent the extinction of known threatened species and improve their conservation status, the National Red List of some selected taxa has been produced. This report summarizes the assessment process and its results with detailed descriptions for some selected threatened species in Myanmar.