by Jordan Gray 

Breaking News – Nearly 11,000 Radiated Tortoises Seized in Madagascar!

A confiscation of monumental proportions, and the largest for tortoises or freshwater turtles in the history of the Turtle Survival Alliance has occurred in Madagascar. On the night of April 10, 2018, TSA staff were alerted to a confiscation of 10,976 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) from a single residence in the city of Toliara on the southwestern coast of Madagascar. Three suspects have been apprehended in connection with the smuggling operation.

See the video of the raid on the house containing the tortoises at minute 12:03! 

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Residence containing 10,976 tortoises in Toliara. Photo credit: DREEF
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Radiated Tortoises fill every room in the house. Photo credit: DREEF

The tortoises have been temporarily transferred to “Villages de Tortues,” a secure facility in Ifaty where triage efforts are beginning. The TSA and our partners Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Zoo Knoxville are mobilizing forces now to assist in this effort; our TSA-Madagascar staff are already en-route to Ifaty. We will need to send additional veterinarians, veterinary technicians, husbandry technicians, support staff – all of which involves the purchase of airfare and immunizations prior to travel. We will also need to purchase and ship an incredible amount of supplies to help these tortoises survive!

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Radiated Tortoises reside in filthy conditions within the house. Photo credit: DREEF
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The tortoises are loaded into a transport vehicle for Ifaty. Photo Credit: DREEF

Time is of the essence! Within the last two days, hundreds of tortoises have already died from dehydration, malnutrition, and illness. That number is sure to increase unless we act fast! As of today, 9,760 tortoises are alive, but need immediate help. Forces are mobilizing as we speak to save these critically endangered tortoises, but we need your help!!!

Please DONATE TODAY to save these tortoises, and assist with the largest tortoise rescue effort in our history!