Release of captive-bred individuals

The release of captive tortoises in the wild, whether exotic individuals (Greek tortoise or Balkan Hermann’s tortoises) or not (Western Hermann tortoises), endangers wild populations of turtles in transmitting disease.

It has been estimated that the number of captive Hermann’s tortoises in France is greater than the number of wild animals in their natural environment. Captive-bred tortoises are often in contact with and can hybridise with imported exotic species and sub-species (e.g. Greek or Balkan tortoises).

Several tortoise owners reintroduce those animals into the wild. However, the deliberate release of individuals of unknown origin can result in health and genetic problems, for example

the transmission of pathogens which may introduce diseases into the wild populations. The introduction of foreign genes into wild populations modifies the genetic structure of native populations and may produce poor adaptation to local conditions.

This is why it is strongly recommended not to release captive-bred individuals into the wild.