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Greek tortoises: A responsible farming

28/09/2018

Throughout the last five entries of our blog, we have introduced you to the ATALAYA BIO badge, addressing some of the most curious features of the Testudo Graeca Graeca and its relationship with our brand. We spoke of a Mediterranean species, which finds its ideal habitat on our farm and has fascinating adaptation mechanisms, but which is still a considered "vulnerable" species by the IUCN. Usually, we associate farming to intensive crops without any ethics at all, aggressive with the environment and highly industrialized, intimately linked to the disappearance of species. ATALAYA BIO was born from a nature conservation project, seeking out to make it economically sustainable, but without renouncing to our origins. We are committed to sustainable agriculture, prioritizing the most traditional processes, and guaranteeing the protection of the natural space of the Natura 2000 Network in which we grow. We want to demonstrate that farming does not...
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Greek tortoises: Reproduction

28/09/2018

The Greek tortoise hibernates and estivates, but it is when waking up of the hibernation when its mating rite begins. The courtship of the male consists of hitting or biting the back of the female, climbing on her to copulate. They are oviparous specimens, laying between three and four eggs during the months of May to July - the number of eggs depends on the specimen. The females do not reach sexual maturity until they are ten years old, so it is always a joy to find female adult specimens of them on our farm. After carrying out the census of Testudo Graeca Graeca in our plantation, and considering that the found specimens were somewhat distant from each other, an inevitable doubt arose among us: so how do they find each other? Our expert explained us that the encounters between males and females were authentic "miracles" indeed, but also tell us about some interesting resources they have to ensure its reproduction and survival. Females have an o...
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Greek tortoises: Testudo Project

28/09/2018

The Ecology Department of the Miguel Hernández University (UMH) in Elche, has promoted the Testudo Project, a monitoring program for the conservation of the populations of the Greek tortoise in Spain. ATALAYA BIO collaborates with the initiative volunteering in the turtle census at our organic aloe vera cultivation. We help in the search and marking of the specimens, which are later weighed, measured and returned to the place where they were found - we leave a sign on a branch with the code of the found specimen. Currently, in adult specimens, the marking is done using the Cagle System (1939), the oldest standardized method, which consists of notching the marginal shields of the back, following a numerical coding. It is common to find "recaptures", taking small blood tests that help assess the health of the specimen. In addition, in ATALAYA BIO we are conscious about the important role played by environmental education in our society these day...
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Greek tortoises: Vulnerable species (VU - IUCN)

28/09/2018

Its wide distribution goes from North Africa to the Caucasus, passing through Mediterranean European regions such as the coastal and pre-coastal systems of the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula. The wide distribution of this Testudo, has led scientists to differentiate it into 17 subspecies, and the Testudo Graeca Graeca is the one that lives in the Murcian-Almeria area where we grow our organic aloe vera. Despite this, they are very fragmented populations, and the species is currently considered as vulnerable by IUCN - presenting a high probability of joining "endangered species". Among the main risk factors, we find: Loss and fragmentation of their habitat. Captivity. Forest fires. Wild urbanism. Bad and irresponsible farming. In ATALAYA BIO we are strongly aware of the responsibility to cultivate in a privileged natural environment (framed in the Natura 2000 Ne...
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Greek tortoises: What is a Greek tortoise?

28/09/2018

The Greek tortoise, scientifically known as Testudo Graeca, is a tortoise present in the Spanish fauna, with two identified populations in the peninsular southeast and a residual one in Mallorca. Although it was first identified in 1758 by the Swedish botanist Carlos Linnaeus, some fossil records found in North Africa are dated between 30,000 and 150,000 years of antiguaty. The denominative of the species, Graeca, does not allude precisely to a Greek habitat (nothing representative), but to the similarity of its carapace and plates with the ancient Greek mosaics. For this reason, many scientists prefer to call it "Moorish", in allusion to the ancient Roman province of Mauritania, where we find the largest population and fossil record of it. Like our organic aloe vera, Greek tortoises prefer Mediterranean habitats, characterized by mild winters with moderate rainfall, and warm-dry summers. They are ectothermic animals, who get...
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Greek tortoises: How to identify males and females?

28/09/2018

Testudo Graeca Graeca is a long-lived species, reaching 60 years in captivity, but rarely exceeding 20 years in the wild. Females are bigger than the males, around 7 in and 2 lb in adults, compared to 5.5 - 6 in and 1.3 lb of the males. In addition to the size, there is a clear sexual dimorphism, whose differentiation is made through secondary sexual characteristics. Let's see some of the most relevant ones: Plastron (1). The adult males present a concavity in the plastron to mount the female during copulation, being flat in females and subadult specimens. Tail (2). Proportionally longer, sturdier and thicker in the males, with greater distance between the cloaca and the base of the tail. The anal scales of the males are shorter than those of the females, and form a more open angle. Supracaudal plate (3). Flat termination in the females, against a convex and strongly curved inwards plate in...
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Welcome

22/05/2018

ATALAYA BIO is a company that specialises in the cultivation of organic and sustainable aloe vera. Our mission is to offer high quality aloe products: healthy food products (food supplements) and cosmetics. In this blog we will share information about all the facets of this amazing plant: food, health, cosmetics, gastronomy, ..., also our particular way of cultivating, respecting the environment and people. Welcome to this new space where we share those topics that unite us. The ATALAYA BIO team May 22, 2018: International day of biological diversity.
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