The Testudo Kleinmanni, or Egyptian Tortoise, is a small, desert-living tortoise of the Middle East, recognized for it's golden colored shell and extremely small size. In fact, it is the smallest tortoise in the Northern Hemisphere. The largest Egyptian tortoise was only 128mm while the average male is 90mm. It's light colors allows the tortoise to survive in some of the hottest and dryest areas of the world, while also providing some camoflauge against predators in its rocky sandy habitat. The Egyptian tortoise is a herbivore and feeding on dry grasses and desert flowers and fruits.
The two main threats to the Egyptian tortoise's survival is illegal collecting for pet trade and habitat distruction and degradation. The Egyptian tortoises small size makes it very appealing to humans and they want them as pets. Many conservationists found that the intense commercial collection was causing the amount of Egyptian tortoises in the wild to decrease significantly and they created laws against selling them for commercial use. However the turtles are still being sold illegally. Agricultural expansion, cultivation, overgrazing and urban encroachment have put enormous pressure on the Egyptian tortoise’s fragile and dwindling habitat, dramatically reducing available vegetation for food and cover and eventually caused the Egytian tortoise's complete extinction from it's native Egypt.
Current Conservation Efforts
The Egyptian Tortoise's natural predators are many desert birds and lizards, so consequently if the tortoise went extinct in Libya, their predators would be greatly effected. The tortoise does excavate their own burrows, but instead utlilize rodent burrows as a way of shelter. They have adapted a relationship with the rodents and without the tortoise there, the rodents lives will have to change. A big reason why many people want to save the Egyptian tortoise is because of the cruel treatment it endures when in the illegal trade business. There is a high mortality rate of tortoises during their shipment to various places and no reported captive breeding being done so their population just keeps dwindling and dwindling.
One major way humans can help keep the Egyptian tortoise alive is to stop buying them as pets. Even though they are super cute and tiny they are not meant to be household pets and the illegal trade of them is largely contributing to their endangerment.