Hermann’s tortoise is the only existing tortoise species endemic to Europe…
For the SOPTOM, the Hermann’s tortoise is an important species. Since 1986, we have developed several programs to “study and protect” this tortoise.
We organised in 2014 an “International Congress on the Hermann’s tortoise” within the framework of a LIFE program, in order to coordinate several measures on a continental scale to better protect this species, which is gravely endangered, and to protect the menaced areas where the species thrives.
In France, Hermann’s tortoise can presently only be found in the central Var region and in Corsica. The dangers it faces are wildﬁres and essentially: urbanisation!
To slow down the endangerment of these tortoises, “sensibility sites” have been set in the Var region, and the National Nature Reserve of the “Plaines des Maures” (Moors’ Plain), of 5,300 hectares (approximately 13,00 acres) was created in 2010. Several actions consist in protecting the natural areas, establish agreements with private individuals, government ofﬁcials, and surrounding enterprises.
It is mainly, however, by the spread of information and education that we are trying to show the importance of this species to the public. Until now, tortoises were perceived as “ideal pets”, but are
actually wild animals. The goal is to protect this species in its’ natural habitat and to reduce the illegal sales and commercialisation it faces.