“Salama” Team Radiata 2!

by Jordan Gray 

Just as quickly as we said goodbye to most of “Team Radiata 1,” we have said “hello” or “salama” to a new group of amazing wildlife warriors in Ifaty, Madagascar! “Team Radiata 2” arrived from the United States over the weekend and beginning of this week, and again consists of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, husbandry specialists, construction specialists, communications specialists, and additional support personnel. These passionate recruits for the mission at hand represent the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), San Diego Zoo (SDZG), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Shedd Aquarium (SA), Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group (TTPG), as well as private businesses, students, and citizen scientists. We are excited for the new ideas, specialties, and enthusiasm that they bring!

To ensure the nearly 10,000 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) being held at the SOPTOM-CRCC “Village des Tortues” and the TSA’s Itampolo facility continued to receive high-quality care throughout the transition, the TSA administrative staff in the U.S., TSA-Madagascar staff, and our partnering organizations such as the The Association of Zoos and Aquariums and their member institutions, the WCS, and other NGO’s, have worked tirelessly to properly schedule personnel including flight arrangements, accommodations, and work coverage. And, this effort has all continued to be supported by the countless amazing donors from around the world! So to all of those who have provided this operation with unfaltering support, thank you very much or “Misaotra betsaka!” Because of you, these Radiated Tortoises have another chance of life in Madagascar!

Pictured Left to Right:

Back row: Dr. Matt O’Connor (SA), Thomas Muller (SOPTOM-CRCC), Lisa Skibsted (private), Dr. Matt Marinkovich (SDZG), Christel Griffioen (ACCB)

Middle row: Dr. Bonnie Raphael (private), Doris Dimmitt (private), Rachel Walton (SDZG), Tsito Rehoahy (TSA), Jordan Gray (TSA)

Front row: Heather Alford (SDZG), Jessica Chin (WCS), Michael Skibsted (TSA-NAFTRG)

Not pictured: Nathan Haislip (TSA), Brett Baldwin (SDZG), Kelvin Alvarez (WCS), Jay Allen (private), Pete Koplos (TTPG), Ny Aina Tiana Rakotoarisoa (TSA), Herilala Randriamahazo (TSA), Tiana (driver)

Photo credit: Marin Ade Lenurb