Assessor: Krystal Tolley
Psammobates geometricus is a CITES Appendix I listed species and trade is strictly regulated. CITES trade statistics show that just over 100 wild caught individuals were exported from South Africa between 1975 and 2015, all of which were recorded as being for scientific purposes rather than trade. If there are high numbers in trade, there are no matching CITES exports recorded suggesting such trade is not legal. In general, tortoises are popular in the international pet trade and numerous species are illegally collected and smuggled across the world each year (e.g. Rosen & Smith 2010, Auliya et al. 2016). In the international market various species of South African tortoises are regularly found, many with dubious origins (Auliya et al. 2016). Psammobates geometricus has been collected illegally, but the extent and trend of this is unknown (Henen et al., 2013; Hofmeyr & Baard 2016).
The species is thought to be in decline due to habitat loss and might total less than than 2500 individuals (Hofmeyr and Baard 2016).
Psammobates geometricus males matures between 8 and 10 years with females maturing between 11 and 13 years (Baard 1995). They have a long generation time which has been estimated in the region of 30 years (Hofmeyr & Baard 2016). These factors coupled with low egg and hatchling survivability (possibly up to 99% mortality in the first year) (Hofmeyr & Baard 2016) clearly indicate that Psammobates geometricus has low regeneration potential. This species conservative reproductive strategy implies that P. geometricus has a low rate of population growth and that change in habitat and climate, fire frequency, increased predation and any form of collection of individuals from the wild would therefore impact this species regeneration potential severely.