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Chersina Angulata Working Group

 
 

is a group of dedicated and passionate professionals working together to...

  • Develop comprehensive captive care guidelines for private and institutional collections. 
  • Build a viable captive bred generation within the United States.
  • Provide scientific research, case studies, care regimens and incubation strategies.
  • Track group progress in a North American Regional Studbook.

      You will notice, while enjoying the photography on this site, that the Bowsprit Tortoise can display drastically different cosmetic features.  Though these are all Chersina angulata, 2 disparate DNA clades exists between Southern and Western populations accounting for some of the variance.  

     The CAWG currently maintains a colony of 27 bowsprit tortoises in 4 separate and climatically diverse locations.  Each of the 4 locations has at least one adult pair capable of breeding.  Updates as to husbandry, breeding activity, nesting and incubation, and hatchlings are provided regularly on the Tortoise Forums Bowsprit Section.  You can also ask questions and interact with the members of the CAWG on the Tortoise Forum.

Photo by Jim Barzyk

 
 
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Research


Research


 

Natural range and locale specific morphological differences

Distribution. Chersina angulata is endemic to Southern Africa; occurring mainly within South Africa (around 90%) and extends into extreme southwestern Namibia. In South Africa, the species occurs from East London in the Eastern Cape Province, westwards through most of the Western Cape Province, into the western region of the Northern Cape Province (Hofmeyr 2009). Its range extends across the Orange River into Namibia, where it is found in the Sperrgebiet and surroundings, possibly as far north as Lüderitz and Aus (Griffen 2003). The species occurs on several offshore islands, and reaches high densities on Dassen and Robben islands off the southwestern coast of South Africa (Hofmeyr 2009).

     Habitat. — Angulate tortoises occur from the coastal plains to altitudes of approximately 3500 ft, but do not extend into central southern Africa. They live in dry regions (annual rainfall < 4" to 24 ") though annual rainfall along the south coast can exceed 4 feet in some areas. Western winters are wet while southern rainfall is not seasonal. Temperatures are mild to very hot in summer, with no or little frost in winter, except at high altitudes. The species’ range covers several biomes such as Fynbos, Albany Thicket, Succulent Karoo, and Nama Karoo.

 

A Western Cape Specimen.                                                                 Photo by Jim Barzyk

MORPHOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES

It is important when developing care regimens for captive animals to locate the origin of the animal as environmental characteristics can vary significantly over the large natural range of Chersina angulata.

Range Data

Range Data

PRIMARY RANGE

Pictured here are the two primary geographic regions in which Chersina are naturally occurring.  In addition, there is a large community (>5,000) on Dassen Island off the Western Coast.  Here is a great video clip on Dassen Island.

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WESTERN CAPE

Varying greatly in appearance even within the Western range, angulates can display red throughout the shell.  Notice the large gular protrusion or "bow" on this male.

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SOUTHERN CAPE

This image shows a classic shell coloration defining the appearance of Chersina angulata.

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DASSEN ISLAND

Notable cosmetic features include a larger overall size, elongated carapace and a more blonde coloration (less red).

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Photo Gallery


Photo Gallery


Photo by Gergő Gurics

Photo by Gergő Gurics

Photo by Gergő Gurics

Photo by Gergő Gurics

Photo by Steven Barker - Two adult Female Bowsprit Tortoises

Photo by Steven Barker

Photo by Steven Barker

Photo by Dan Sterantino

Photo by Dan Sterantino

Photo by Diane Brooks

Photo by Diane Brooks

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Our Team


Our Team


Dan Sterantino&nbsp; &nbsp;  dan@sterantino.com   Dan is the Director of the Chersina Angulata Working Group, The Director of the  Ploughshare Project  , and the Studbook Keeper for the North American Regional Chersina angulata studbook.&nbsp; Dan is also a Field Associate in Herpetology of the AZA accredited  Trevor Zoo  in Millbrook, NY.&nbsp; Dan is a member of the  Turtle Survival Alliance ,  The Turtle Conservancy ,  The Association of Zoos and Aquariums ,  The American Association for the Advancement of Science  and held a Board position at the  Tortoise Trust  from 1999 to 2004. Dan's private tortoise facility is an Affiliated Offsite Facility of the Trevor Zoo.

Dan Sterantino   dan@sterantino.com

Dan is the Director of the Chersina Angulata Working Group, The Director of the Ploughshare Project , and the Studbook Keeper for the North American Regional Chersina angulata studbook.  Dan is also a Field Associate in Herpetology of the AZA accredited Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY.  Dan is a member of the Turtle Survival Alliance, The Turtle Conservancy, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The American Association for the Advancement of Science and held a Board position at the Tortoise Trust from 1999 to 2004. Dan's private tortoise facility is an Affiliated Offsite Facility of the Trevor Zoo.

Dr. Dwight Lawson   Dr. Lawson is a co-founder of the CAWG, has a PhD in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington and is the CEO of the  Oklahoma City Zoo  in Oklahoma City, OK.&nbsp; His interest in reptiles began when he was a child. He is a member of several reptile conservation organizations and has also worked closely with the  Association of Zoos and Aquariums  during his career.

Dr. Dwight Lawson

Dr. Lawson is a co-founder of the CAWG, has a PhD in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington and is the CEO of the Oklahoma City Zoo in Oklahoma City, OK.  His interest in reptiles began when he was a child. He is a member of several reptile conservation organizations and has also worked closely with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums during his career.

Chris Leone   Chris Leone is a co-founder of the CAWG, owner/operator of  Garden State Tortoise LLC  and has successfully kept and bred over 50 species/subspecies of turtles and tortoises for more than twenty years. He is the Director of Animal Husbandry for  theTurtleRoom.com . He is a member of the  Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group ,&nbsp; The Turtle Survival Alliance ,&nbsp; The Association of Zoos &amp; Aquariums  and is in close contact with many chelonian organizations world wide. In recent years, Chris was awarded "Chelonia Breeder of the Year"&nbsp;by the  Reptile Report ."&nbsp;

Chris Leone

Chris Leone is a co-founder of the CAWG, owner/operator of Garden State Tortoise LLC and has successfully kept and bred over 50 species/subspecies of turtles and tortoises for more than twenty years. He is the Director of Animal Husbandry for theTurtleRoom.com. He is a member of the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation GroupThe Turtle Survival AllianceThe Association of Zoos & Aquariums and is in close contact with many chelonian organizations world wide. In recent years, Chris was awarded "Chelonia Breeder of the Year" by the Reptile Report." 

 
Tom Roach   Tom is a co-founder of the CAWG and has been working with tortoises since 1986.&nbsp; Tom is a regular (prolific actually) contributor to  The Tortoise Forum &nbsp;and keeps and breeds many species of tortoise.&nbsp; Professionally, Tom is a film-industry animal trainer providing highly trained animal actors to thousands of Feature films, TV shows, commercials and other media outlets.

Tom Roach

Tom is a co-founder of the CAWG and has been working with tortoises since 1986.  Tom is a regular (prolific actually) contributor to The Tortoise Forum and keeps and breeds many species of tortoise.  Professionally, Tom is a film-industry animal trainer providing highly trained animal actors to thousands of Feature films, TV shows, commercials and other media outlets.

Jonathan Gray   Jonathan has been maintaining and breeding numerous species of turtles and tortoises for over fifty years. He has done field work on the Galapagos islands and most recently has had success breeding the endangered Vietnamese Box Turtle, Cuora (Pyxidea) mouhotii.&nbsp; Jonathan is an advisor and assistant keeper with the Chersina Angulata Working Group and a contributor to  The Tortoise Forum.

Jonathan Gray

Jonathan has been maintaining and breeding numerous species of turtles and tortoises for over fifty years. He has done field work on the Galapagos islands and most recently has had success breeding the endangered Vietnamese Box Turtle, Cuora (Pyxidea) mouhotii.  Jonathan is an advisor and assistant keeper with the Chersina Angulata Working Group and a contributor to The Tortoise Forum.

&nbsp;Dr. William H. Zovickian   Dr. Zovickian is one of the worlds foremost tortoise experts and maintained a group of angulate tortoises as far back as 1977.&nbsp; Dr. Zovickian has accomplishments and accolades too numerous to list here.&nbsp; He is a co-founder and Director of Husbandry for the  Ploughshare Project &nbsp;and a Senior Advisor to the Chersina Angulata Working Group.

 Dr. William H. Zovickian

Dr. Zovickian is one of the worlds foremost tortoise experts and maintained a group of angulate tortoises as far back as 1977.  Dr. Zovickian has accomplishments and accolades too numerous to list here.  He is a co-founder and Director of Husbandry for the Ploughshare Project and a Senior Advisor to the Chersina Angulata Working Group.

Kingsley Rodrigo   Kingsley is a co-founder of the Chersina Angulata Working Group and has successfully bred Chersina angulata. A native of Sri Lanka, Kingsley is also very involved with Sri Lankan conservation initiatives and holds particular interest in the conservation of the Sri Lankan Star Tortoise.&nbsp; He takes annual trips to Sri Lanka and supports many conservation activities.&nbsp; Kingsley is also a regular contributor to  The Tortoise Forum .

Kingsley Rodrigo

Kingsley is a co-founder of the Chersina Angulata Working Group and has successfully bred Chersina angulata. A native of Sri Lanka, Kingsley is also very involved with Sri Lankan conservation initiatives and holds particular interest in the conservation of the Sri Lankan Star Tortoise.  He takes annual trips to Sri Lanka and supports many conservation activities.  Kingsley is also a regular contributor to The Tortoise Forum.

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Partners


Partners