Friday, March 29, 2013

Tortoise totals

The Durrelle Conservation Wildlife Trust has been working to conserve endangered plowshare tortoises, but it's not easy. With a market for exotic pets (and buyers with no consciences), smugglers are all too eager to oblige. “Ploughshare tortoises in particular are extremely vulnerable as illegal trade has reduced their numbers to just a few hundred,” says Chris Shepherd of wildlife trade watchdog TRAFFIC. Authorities in Thailand recently arrested a man attempting to smuggle 54 ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) and 21 radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) out of Madagascar. Though both types of tortoises are endangered – and are the only living species in their genus – the ploughshare tortoise is on the absolute brink of extinction."Every individual is incredibly valuable to the survival of the species," stresses Shepherd. With an estimated 400 still surviving in the wild, the tortoises found in the smuggler's bag represent 13% of the entire population.

1 comment:

  1. That's too bad. I hate smugglers but how can we stop them? I'm glad he was caught and they were rescued.


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