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Report on the Analysis of the Wild Diet of Testudo werneri
Published on: 26.6.2012
  First publish: 01.04.2012
Shelley J. Rank1 and Liz Kaufman2
1. New Knowledge Organization, Ltd.
2. The Tisch Family Zoological Garden in Jerusalem

The Negev tortoise, Testudo werneri, is an IUCN critically endangered species, indigenous to the arid coastal region of Israel, Egypt and Libya. Zoos, conservation organizations and private breeders are working to save their natural habitat and continue captive breeding. Tortoise species have been susceptible to a variety of problems in captivity including decrease life expectancy and metabolic bone disease, both indicators of improper nutrition. It was the goal of this study to determine the nutritional needs of the Negev tortoise to make specific recommendation for a captive diet based on a nutritional analysis of their wild diet. The results revealed high calcium to phosphate ratio and a surprisingly high oxalic acid content. Further studies on calcium absorption are recommended.

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