Featured Image Credit: Dreef Atsimo Andrefana
By Sarah Sharkey
Thousands of critically endangered tortoises were found dehydrated and starving in an abandoned building on Madagascar. 9,888 of the reptiles were found on April 10th, it has been a struggle to protect them since that day. Unfortunately, 574 of these animals died within one week of their rescue.
The Turtle Survival Alliance is leading the charge on helping these creatures survive. The first step was to transport the tortoises to a nearby rescue facility in the village of Ifaty. Next, keeping these animals alive is a difficult task. The final step will be to release them into a suitable habitat area.
These are all radiated tortoises which are endemic to Madagascar and critically endangered due to habitat destruction, poaching and other stressors.
It is assumed that these tortoises were being gathered for a shipment to Asia. In the Asian pet industry, these tortoises are a desired breed. The demand encourages poachers to collect as many as they can without any regard to the welfare of the individuals or the population as a whole. Unfortunately, poaching will continue to be a threat to these cute little turtles.
It is hoped that thee turtles can be rehabilitated and released into protected areas of Madagascar.
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