by Heather Lowe
The group of radiated tortoises that was confiscated at the Ivato Airport (Madagascar) on October 10 is still being cared for by the staff at the office that the TSA shares with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership in Antaranarivo. The tortoises (569 total) had been packed into just four suitcases when they were found and many have suffered health consequences as a result. In total, 50 have been lost thus far, primarily due to stress, dehydration and immune issues.
However, the good news is that mortality seems to be subsiding at this point as no additional tortoises have been lost in the past week. A local veterinarian, Tsanta Rakotonanahary, has been working closely with Herilala Randriamahazo (TSA Malagasy Tortoise Conservation Coordinator) to treat the group and keep mortality to a minimum. Tsanta has a history with the TSA, as she received special training from the TSA in 2010 (pictured at left). She is actively consulting with Dr. Bonnie Raphael (WCS) and Paul Gibbons (Turtle Conservancy) to take advantage of their expertise in treating tortoises. We appreciate everyone that is contributing their services to this effort.
The tortoises will be under the care of the TSA until they are healthy and are given the green light from the Malagasy Forest Authority for reintroduction. If you would like to contribute to help offset the cost of their care and medical treatment, please visit the TSA donation page.