World’s biggest star tortoise found at Lunugamvehera
The biggest star tortoise found so far in Sri Lanka has been reported from Lunugamvehera national park. Also, there are no records elsewhere in the world about such a big star tortoise, says wildlife veterinary surgeons’ association president, Dr. Vijitha Perera.
Wildlife officer Ranga Wijeratne on April 30 found this star tortoise during field observation duty at Lunugamvehera national park.  A team led by Dr. Perera inspected it on April 06 and found it to be around 14 kg in weight, body 45 cm in length and the shell 42 cm in length and 22 cm tall.
Star tortoises are found only in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, and this could be the biggest on record, said Dr. Perera. According to him, it is heavier and bigger more than twice a normal star tortoise.
He went onto say it was found by a wildlife officer on field observation duty in a wildlife park, a free environment. He should be commended for his act. The department now has a responsibility to use the fame brought to the country by this star tortoise to preserve its species.
According to him, it appears to be a male, and the male is smaller than the female in star tortoises, which is noteworthy here. Its age cannot be determined, but could be around 60 or 70 years old, or older. Dr. Perera hopes this star tortoise could spend the remainder of its life in a free environment, without its freedom being restricted due to its fame. The best thing to do is to release it back to its habitat without making the place public, he addds.
Rahul Samantha Hettiarachchi - Hambantota
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