The Souss Valley tortoise, Testudo graeca soussensis, is endemic to the semi-arid and arid low quality habitats of west central Morocco. Populations of this area are among the best-investigated populations in western Mediterranean. The long-term conservation of these declining populations is of particular management concern for this endemic and threatened subspecies. Here we present a data review on biological and ecological aspects of this subspecies dealing with morphology, distribution range and climatic niche, habitat use, food habits, activity cycle, and thermal responses to arid hot conditions, post-hatching growth, sexual maturity, sexual dimorphism, breeding ecology and demographics. After an analysis of the major threats on populations, we proposed management actions required to improve the conservation outcomes for this endangered tortoise in arid areas of west central Morocco. Conservation and restoration potentials of the declining populations and their habitat are also described, including habitat restoration and a captive breeding program.
Part of the book: Reptiles and Amphibians